US-based insurer Chubb is also signed on as a partner.
Ride-hailing app Grab is expanding its business into financial services.
This new platform will encompass all of Grab's fintech offerings, including payment services, rewards and loyalty services, and financial services, among others.
"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". 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.
Grab, widely known as "Southeast Asia's Uber", operates services in 191 cities in eight countries, with mobile downloads totaling about 86 million. 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).
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Said managing director of GrabPay South-east Asia Jason Thompson: "At Grab, driver welfare is at the heart of our vision of improving the lives of people in South-east Asia".
With over a billion transactions made via Grab annually, the company's datasets are expected to provide a sophisticated, alternative resource for measuring credit ratings.
The initial phase of the JV will focus on providing products for its driver-partners, agents and merchants, such as working capital loans, financing for smartphones and durable goods, as well as consumer goods financing.
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.
Jason Thompson, MD of GrabPay SEA.
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"The new joint venture, Grab Financial Services Asia, puts in place a much-needed infrastructure that will accelerate financial inclusion in Southeast Asia".
Grab, the ride sharing platform we are all familiar with, has become a little more unfamiliar to us with the launch of its new product.
On the other hand, the insurance capability of Grab Financial is done through a partnership with Chubb, the world's largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company.
"We've not announced anything about Credit Saison investing in Grab", he added.
Nobody has any data on them; the platform is all designed around them.
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