Grab to offer loans, insurance with new fintech platform Grab Financial

Anthony Tan Co-founder and CEO of Grab

"I wake up every day thinking about how we are going to empower the next 100 million micro entrepreneurs by 2020", Tan told the Money 20/20 conference in Singapore. With more than 86 million downloads, Grab already has a solid base of customers who can start using its app for their financial needs.

Grab has introduced its fintech arm which will bring its group payments, rewards & loyalty, agent network and financial services under an umbrella, as well as offer insurance products to its drivers and customers. Grab has said that the platform is now to be focussed exclusively on the company's business customers - chiefly its various drivers - but there may be a general consumer-focused version sometime in the future.

Jason Thompson, MD of GrabPay SEA. Whether that's nano-loans for working capital, the ability to buy a auto, actually without financial services we're going to restrict the business growth of that whole ecosystem.

Tan, together with GrabPay Southeast Asia Managing Director Jason Thompson, laid out his vision on Tuesday as the company tries to become a major financial services platform in the region. "That's the reason we're doing it". These financial services will fall under a new dedicated unit created by the rideshare, called Grab Financial Services Asia.

Grab Financial will offer insurance options to its 2.6 million driver-partners, underwritten by Chubb.

Grab will provide its vast consumer data based on its reach to millions of consumers across the region, while Saison will offer its expertise in credit analysis and consumer lending.

What's new with Grab Financial is the addition of loan and insurance services to individuals around in Southeast Asia. Grab will offer loans to the underserved via a joint-venture with Credit Saison, the largest lender in Japan (the company now has about $70 million credit cards in circulation, TechCrunch reported today).

With both the involvement with Grab and Shopback, arguably two of the most used consumer platforms in Southeast Asia, Credit Saison will have access to consumer habits, spending behaviours as well as financial insights of the Southeast Asia population.

A Google and Temasek joint study in late 2017 forecast that Southeast Asia's internet economy would likely grow to be worth more than $200 billion by 2025, from an estimated $50 billion in 2017. It will be interesting to see how Grab plans to use its resources to capitalise on Southeast Asia's potential while solving problems unique to the region, such as difficulties in establishing accurate credit scores.

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