Grab – the Singapore-based company that started out as a ride-hailing app and became a payments platform – is expanding further into financial services.
And in true fintech disruptor fashion, Grab said it plans to use the troves of consumer data from its app to help assess risk for its new offerings.
Grab announced Tuesday (March 13) that it is launching Grab Financial. This new fintech platform will combine payments, rewards and loyalty, and other services.
In conjunction with the platform launch, Grab has formed a joint venture with Credit Saison, a Japanese consumer finance company. Grab Financial Services Asia, the company formed by the joint venture, will offer micro-financing within Southeast Asia, according to the press release.
Access to alternative consumer data will be key to enabling Grab’s extension of credit to its targeted population.
The company cited World Bank estimates that only 27% of adults in Southeast Asia have bank accounts. This lack of use of traditional financial services would typically keep many consumers from accessing credit.
“By analyzing behaviour and transaction data from the app, such as transport movements, geo-location, and GrabPay transaction data, the company can offer alternative data points to assess credit worthiness, filling the gap left by traditional credit scoring methods,” the company said in the release.
“Using this data and Credit Saison’s expertise in credit scoring, risk management, and product formulation, the JV will offer a range of lending products and services.”
Initially, the company said, its joint venture will focus on providing financial products to its drivers, agents and merchants. These services will include working capital loans as well as financing for smartphones and other consumer goods.
“The new joint venture, Grab Financial Services Asia, puts in place a much-needed infrastructure that will accelerate financial inclusion in Southeast Asia,” said Jason Thompson, managing director, Grab Financial, and director, Grab Financial Services Asia.
“Many in our region have no access to loans that they can use to purchase a new home or grow their small business. GFSA is building a reliable alternative to traditional credit scoring methods that is customised for the unbanked majority of consumers and small businesses in Southeast Asia, which will create economic opportunity for millions across the region.”
In a separate announcement on the same day, Grab also said it had formed a partnership with Chubb, which offers property and casualty insurance. This partnership will enable insurance offerings for Grab drivers through the Grab Financial platform.