Southeastern Asian ride-hailing service, Grab, has extended its business into the financial services sector, by introducing a micro-investment platform, a third-party loan service, and also a “Buy Now, Pay Later” product for digital commerce sites.
Introduced in August 2020, AutoInvest allows consumers based in Singapore to decide how much they’d like to invest per Grab transaction. They can choose to invest amounts starting from as low as $1, while being able to earn returns of 1.8% p.a.. The profits earned may be transferred to the customers’ GrabPay digital wallets.
AutoInvest funds are allocated to liquid fixed income funds, which are provided by Fullerton Fund Management and UOB Asset Management. The invested money may be withdrawn easily whenever the customer wants, without having to pay any penalties or extra charges. The funds may be used to pay for various Grab services or be used to settle transactions at other outlets that support payments with the GrabPay Card.
AutoInvest has been introduced after Grab announced its acquisition of Robo-advisory and Wealthtech company Bento in February 2020.
Chandrima Das, head of wealth at Grab Financial Group, stated:
“AutoInvest is our commitment to bring value to our consumers and partners with innovative, accessible and easy-to-understand investment solutions. We aim to better provide millions across Southeast Asia with the opportunity to invest in financial products traditionally limited to affluent individuals and institutional investors.”
Grab is reportedly expanding its consumer loan business to include third-party service providers. The company said its platform will integrate with various banking APIs to allow users to look for and apply for loans from the Grab app.
The firm’s Buy Now, Pay Later service lets users shop for products online and make payments in easy, interest-free instalments. Grab works with furniture and beauty fashion retailers who support flexible payment options. Eligible customers have the option to split their bill into smaller monthly payments. They can also defer payments to the next month or some other future date.
These new products have launched after Grab established its dedicated financial service center in 2019.
Reuben Lai, senior managing director at Grab Financial Group, remarked:
“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.”
In February 2020, Grab secured more than $850 million through Japanese investors, including Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and TIS Inc.