SINGAPORE: Grab Financial Group on Tuesday August 4 announced a series of new financial products and services, including a microinvestment program that would allow consumers to invest while spending on the Grab platform.
This is part of a “Thrive with Grab” strategy, which aims to exploit the “vast opportunity of Southeast Asian mass market financial services,” the company said in a press release.
The strategy will also see the group launch “buy now, pay later” payment plans for some e-commerce websites and a third-party lending platform to allow users to obtain consumer loans.
“As a leading financial technology company in Southeast Asia, our ‘Thrive with Grab’ strategy will enable users to build their wealth, manage their finances and protect what they value during this uncertain time.” said Grab Financial Group Senior Managing Director Reuben Lai.
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Formed in 2018, Grab Financial Group is the financial services arm of ride-sharing and delivery giant Grab.
Its new AutoInvest micro-investment product – created after Grab Financial’s acquisition of robotics consulting start-up Bento Invest – would allow users in Singapore to invest at least S $ 1 per transaction on the Grab app.
Users will be able to earn around 1.8% per year, which will go into their GrabPay wallets.
“AutoInvest sets GrabPay apart from other electronic wallets by allowing users to easily invest their wallet balance. The invested amount can then be withdrawn at any time, without penalty, to be spent on Grab services or at any merchant accepting the GrabPay card, ”Grab said in its press release.
The company added that the money would be invested in “high quality, liquid fixed income funds” offered by Fullerton Fund Management and UOB Asset Management.
AutoInvest will be available to eligible users through the Grab app in early September, and users will be charged a “low all-in fee”.
The new third-party consumer lending platform, which will launch in Singapore before being introduced in Malaysia and other countries, will allow users to access personal loans offered by Grab’s authorized banking partners.
Grab Financial and its banking partners will integrate their application programming interfaces (APIs), Grab said, allowing users to securely apply for loans directly within the Grab app.
It is also expanding its range of “buy now-pay later” offerings by launching PayLater Instalments, which will allow users to split their purchases into monthly installments, and PayLater Postpaid, where payments can be carried over to the next month. These will be available on select e-commerce sites in Singapore and Malaysia in October.
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Grab Financial will also launch a new hospital insurance plan, called Hospital Cash Cover, in Indonesia in the coming months.
The new programs further highlight Grab’s push into financial services, and come after the company announced last December that it was partnering with Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel) to apply for a full digital banking license in Singapore.
READ: Singtel partners with Grab for Singapore digital banking license
At the time, Mr. Lai called the move “the natural next step… to create a truly customer-centric digital bank that will provide a variety of accessible, transparent and affordable banking and financial services.”
Tuesday’s announcements also come after a series of cost-cutting measures from Grab, with co-founder Tan Hooi Ling noting that the company’s revenues have fallen as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In April, Grab announced that its senior executives would suffer a pay cut of up to 20%, and in June, the company announced it would cut 360 jobs, or about 5% of its total workforce.