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Grab forms venture with Japan's Credit Saison for lending services

14 March 2018

Rather than pumping potential financial services customers with alerts via its app, Grab plans to take a community-driven approach and promote the availability of services using its driver events, its network of agents and other offline means.

Southeast Asia's largest taxi-hailing app operator Grab on March 13 announced its new joint venture Grab Financial with Japanese consumer financing company Credit Saison to provide loans and lending services to millions of micro-entrepreneurs across the region.

For its new offerings, Grab has teamed up with Credit Saison, a $3 billion firm that is Japan's biggest lender with some 70 million credit cards in circulation, to create a joint venture called Grab Financial Services Asia.

"Grab Financial Services Asia 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", Jason Thompson, director of Grab Financial Services Asia, said on Tuesday. "Many in our region have no access to loans that they can use to purchase a new home or grow their small Business", said Thompson.

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The new venture will also look at offering credit scoring services to financial firms who can use the information to provide other services such as virtual credit cards.

"You can imagine these guys, much like WeChat in China, beginning to move into more and more adjacencies until such time as your Go-Jek or your Grab app becomes your primary application that you do a range of services through", said James Lloyd, Asia-Pacific financial technology leader at EY.

Grab, widely known as "Southeast Asia's Uber", operates services in 191 cities in eight countries, with mobile downloads totaling about 86 million. US-based insurer Chubb is also signed on as a partner.

Didi Chuxing, the biggest ride-hailing operator in China, past year teamed up with Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp to lead a US$2.5 billion financing round in Grab.

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Grab has announced a partnership with Chubb, the world's largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, to offer insurance solutions for Grab's driver-partners.

Using the Grab app, these drivers will be able to select different insurance options to protect their vehicles, livelihoods and their families should there be loss of income through accidents, the company said.

Beyond that, we can also expect Grab Financial to introduce new insurance products catered to the digital audience in Southeast Asia. According to a survey published in June 2017, Grab's driver-partners earn 32% more income on a per-hour basis compared with average worker wages across all of Grab's markets. These features is said to make it easier for drivers to find rides and secure earnings.

Chubb is committed to the digitisation of its insurance products and services to meet the needs of customers living, working and running businesses in the Digital Age.

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Grab forms venture with Japan's Credit Saison for lending services