Grab Launches Microinvestment Solution, Consumer Loans, BNPL Plans

Grab Launches Microinvestments, Loans, BNPL

Grab Financial Group (GFG), a Southeast Asia financial technology (FinTech) and ridesharing company, is expanding its reach with the announcement on Tuesday (Aug. 4) that it will offer consumer loans in Singapore along with wealth management products.

Called “Thrive with Grab,” the strategy is designed to tap into the region’s vast market. More than 70 percent of Southeast Asians are underbanked, according to a Google, Temasek and Bain & Co. report.

Under the Thrive umbrella is a micro-investment that allows users to invest small sums of money into liquid, fixed-income funds offered by Fullerton Fund Management and UOB Asset Management for a “low” fee. Users can also access consumer loans from the bank’s partners as well as a zero-interest, buy now pay later (BNPL) payment option for select eCommerce websites.

“Our ‘Thrive with Grab’ strategy will enable users to build their wealth, manage their finances and protect what they value during this uncertain period,” said Reuben Lai, GFG’s senior managing director, in a statement. “By offering innovative micro-transaction-based financial services, convenient financial management tools and access to products from leading global financial institutions, we hope to unlock the tremendous potential in financial services in the region in ways that serve all Southeast Asians.”

At the start of the year, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group invested more than $700 million in Grab. The move gave Japan’s largest bank access to the company’s millions of daily users.

Grab also has received $2.6 billion from SoftBank and is looking for more sources of funding to expand.

But not all of Grab’s choices have been winners. In March, Grab partnered with Wirecard AG, the now-bankrupt German payment company, to facilitate payments and transfers. Under the agreement, Wirecard would process payments and transfers using GrabPay’s digital wallet, initially targeting markets in Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore.

“We are thrilled to partner with Wirecard as we progress on our journey of building a cashless economy for millions of businesses across Southeast Asia,” said Lai at the time. “Wirecard’s innovative mobile payments solutions will not only complement our GrabPay eWallet platform, but also offers businesses and consumers the opportunity to transact with greater security, convenience and flexibility.”

But three months later, after Wirecard’s auditors failed to confirm the existence of $2.1 billion in trust accounts, Grab reportedly halted its collaboration. “We have not begun business integration work on the Wirecard partnership and we are pausing the partnership till further notice,” a Grab spokesperson told Reuters.