Grab and its fintech ecosystem

Let’s remember what Grab is, and how it gradually builds its fintech ecosystem


Grab and its FinTech ecosystem. Source:

On 8 November 2018, Grab, which is a leading online-to-offline (O2O) platform from Southeast Asia, announced a partnership with KASIKORNBANK, also known as Kbank. Within the framework of this cooperation, Thailand’s financial institution and Grab introduced GrabPay. This solution is a mobile wallet, which is expected to enhance the influence of both companies in Thailand and other served area countries.

Let’s remember what Grab is, and how it gradually builds its fintech ecosystem.

Grab as a ride-hailing service

Grab is a Singapore-based tech company, which initially offered ride-hailing and ride sharing, but has now expanded in a comprehensive company with a food delivery service and logistics services. It operates via its application in Singapore and surrounding Asian countries, such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, and Cambodia. The company initially competed with Uber, but it purchased the share of Uber’s Southeast Asian operations in March 2018. Thus, Grab turned out to be the one and only ride-sharing company in the region.

The firm was originally founded in 2012 under the name MyTeksi in Malaysia. Source:

The firm was originally founded in 2012 under the name MyTeksi in Malaysia. Nowadays, GrabTaxi is a taxi assigning app, which is aimed at the Southeast Asia region. The company was created by Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling. Both of them are Harvard Business School graduates. Anthony Tan was the one to draw up a business proposal, which contained the idea to create an Uber-like service. Anthony later said that he came up with the idea when multiple mates told him how it was hard to call a taxi in Malaysia. Tan launched this business plan at the Business Plan Contest at Harvard Business School, and it won a second place there.

In 2016 Grab added an interesting feature to its app. It is a chat, which connects a passenger to a driver. This chat also translates messages, if the driver and passenger speak different languages.

This service lets users find available cabs in their area. What is new about GrabTaxi? This service, in contrast to other booking apps which are specific to a single taxi operator, works with all taxis. It also makes booking cheaper. For instance, if you book a taxi in Singapore, the Comfort taxi service would take 40 cents for your booking. GrabTaxi will take only 30 cents.

Grab Financial and its solutions

Now, in 2018, Grab Financial has become Southeast Asia’s leading FinTech platform. The above-mentioned partnership with KASIKORNBANK made Grab Financial the first mobile payments platform to launch e-money-licensed payments services.

68% of all transactions in Thailand are carried out in cash. Source:

Bank of Thailand has recently released the information that no less than 68% of all transactions in Thailand are carried out in cash. The preliminary appraisal of damage caused to the country’s economy by this phenomenon is several millions of Baht yearly. The recent collaboration of two giants will facilitate the adoption of cashless transactions throughout Thailand.

So, the first step is to launch ‘GrabPay by Kbank’, which could happen at the beginning of 2019. This solution might kill multiple birds with one stone. Thus, Grab users would be able to pay not only for transport and delivery services but also send money to friends and family, as well as buy goods and services on the internet. But that’s not all, since the solution covers a wide range of services, QR-code payments in restaurants/diners and stores all around Thailand are also included.

The next step is to apply more features. They plan to combine both KBank’s “K PLUS” app and the Grab app into one ecosystem. That will be the way to formulate the integration of the customers of KBank and Grab, and they plan to offer products to their user base. It is about loans to help merchants grow their business, and increasing brand awareness.

Grab Financial: milestones

The firm launched the Grab Financial Group in March 2018, and it gave great impetus to its FinTech ecosystem:

March 2018: Launch of Grab Financial, through a joint venture with Credit Saison to offer credit to Southeast Asia’s unbanked and a partnership with Chubb to offer in-app insurance solutions;

May 2018: Announcement of a strategic partnership with Maybank, Southeast Asia’s fourth-largest bank by assets, to drive the acceptance of GrabPay in Malaysia;

June 2018: Launch of GrabPay wallet in Malaysia;

June 2018: Strategic partnership with OVO, the leading mobile wallet in Indonesia, to enable OVO payments services on the Grab app in Indonesia;

September 2018: Announcement of a strategic partnership with Moca, a leading digital payments service in Vietnam to launch the ‘GrabPay by Moca’ wallet;

September 2018: Announcement of Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas awarding the e-money license for the Philippines to Grab;

October 2018: Announcement of a strategic partnership with Mastercard to launch prepaid cards for Southeast Asia’s unbanked and underbanked population.

The firm launched the Grab Financial Group. Source:

Now we would like to dwell on some of the above-mentioned points.

1) Grab Financial is a fintech platform within the Grab ecosystem.

According to the official information, Grab Financial will cover all of Grab’s FinTech offerings, including payments services, rewards and loyalty services, agent network services and now also financial services.

It consists of:

  • GrabPay – Grab’s payment service;
  • GrabReward – Grab’s rewards and loyalty service;
  • GrabBenefits – An in-app view of all discounts and offers negotiated for drivers;
  • Loans and lending services;
  • Insurance.

This platform has also become an additional channel for unsecured loans for micro-entrepreneurs, individuals, and small businesses.

Grab has its own payment service. Source:

2) Partnership with Maybank was an essential step towards speeding up cashless adoption in the region. This collaboration, as well as the support of Maybank, will allow Grab users to utilize GrabPay mobile wallet at GrabPay merchants. Moreover, they will be able to use this mobile wallet at Maybank’s major merchants. This is the point that significantly expands mobile wallet acceptance, and widens the network of merchants.

Furthermore, this collaboration enables the option to directly top-up cash to mobile wallets via Maybank2U (Maybank’s internet banking portal), thus easing this process for its users.

3) Partnership with Moca was another significant step. According to Grad’s official site, the list of benefits of GrabPay by Moca consists of:

  • Cashless convenience: Free yourself from the hassle of cash and coins.
  • Safety: GrabPay by Moca uses advance payment security and fraud prevention protocols to ensure your balance and payment details remain safe and sound.
  • Attractive promotions: Receive more offers and get triple GrabRewards points.


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