Announcing the launch of Grab Financial and a partnership with insurance company Chubb on stage at Money 20/20 in Singapore, Grab's co-founder Anthony Tan and head of GrabPay Southeast Asia, Jason Thompson said the move by the ride-sharing company was not to challenge financial institutions.
The partnership was announced as part of the launch of Grab Financial, the fintech platform within the Grab ecosystem.
"If you want to start a business that's about drivers, and drivers can't buy cars, they can't start a business", he said.
Today, the Grab app has been downloaded onto over 86 million mobile devices, offering private auto, motorbike, taxi, and carpooling services, as well as on-demand food and delivery services across 191 cities in 8 countries in Southeast Asia.
By analyzing behavior and transaction data from the app such as transport movement, geo-location and GrabPay transaction data, the firm said it can offer alternative data points to asset credit worthiness, filling the gap left by traditional credit scoring methods.
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.
It also unveiled new partnerships with Credit Saison and Chubb, setting up a joint venture with the former to offer loans and credit assessment services.
"We aim to make these micro-entrepreneurs who used to be invisible more visible to financial institutions", Anthony Tan, Grab CEO, said during the Money20/20 fintech conference in Singapore, calling the new lending business "core to our business". "We've launched a joint venture together".
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.
Using the Grab app, drivers will be able to select different insurance options such as loss of income insurance, per-ride schemes, personal accident policies and motor insurance.
They will also explore using the ride-hailing service provider's data and technology, such as telematics, machine learning and predictive analytics to offer insurance products personalised for specific drivers, it added.
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