Grab dives deeper into fintech with move into lending

Jason Thompson Managing Director GrabPay
GrabPay managing director Jason Thompson

Ride hailing service Grab has joined forces with Credit Saison, Japan’s biggest lender, to expand its financial services offering to include loans.

Through the joint venture company, named Grab Financial Services Asia, Grab and Credit Saison will combine to provide loans and lending services to unbanked and underbanked consumers, micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses across Southeast Asia. The venture comes as part of the launch of Grab Financial, the company’s fintech platform.

“The new joint venture, Grab Financial Services Asia, puts in place a much-needed infrastructure that will accelerate financial inclusion in Southeast Asia,” said Jason Thompson, managing director of Grab Financial and director of Grab Financial Services Asia. “Many in our region have no access to loans that they can use to purchase a new home or grow their small business. 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.”

The company will use Grab’s vast customer data as a means to measuring credit ratings. It will do this by analysing behaviour and transaction data from the Grab app, including transport movements, geolocation and GrabPay transaction data. This data will be combined with Credit Saison’s expertise in credit scoring, risk management, and product formulation to hand out a variety of lending products.

Initially, it will focus on providing products to meet the needs of Grab drivers, agents, and merchants. This will include providing working capital loans, financing for smartphones and durable goods, and consumer goods financing.

Eventually, the joint venture will offer credit scoring services to financial institutes and partner with banks to provide other financial products.