Southeast Asia-based ride-hailing provider Grab has inked a partnership with Mastercard to introduce virtual and physical prepaid cards beginning in the first half of 2019. The alliance will allow customers in the region to pay for items at any store using the digital debit cards from Grab's mobile app, provided that store accepts Mastercard for payments.
The service will be rolled out first in the Philippines and Singapore. Customers may add funds to their cards by paying cash to Grab's 8 million partners in Southeast Asia including drivers and merchants on GrabPay.
Grab Financial senior managing director, Reuben Lai, said in a statement:
“We are the first e-wallet at scale from our region to be accepted worldwide. Not only does this solidify Grab’s position as Southeast Asia’s undisputed fintech leader, but it also enables the region’s 400 million unbanked and underserved consumers to buy goods and services online. Something that was previously limited to the less than 10 per cent of Southeast Asians with a credit card,”
For customers in the region who don't currently have bank-issued debit cards, the upcoming offering from Grab is a welcome development. That is especially so in Southeast Asia where the majority of customers still rely on cash to make purchases at various merchants.