Southeast Asian O2O giant Grab has received an e-money license from the Philippines’ central bank, the latest country in the region where a full suite of its mobile wallet services will be made available, the firm said today via a press release.
With this e-money license approved, Grab users in the Philippines will now be able to top-up mobile accounts, order food, pay bills, and buy goods from stores through the wallet that has been built into the app. One of the most important features for consumers in the Philippines to take note of would be the ability to top up ‘prepaid load’ — credits for data or phone usage — through GrabPay.
“The Philippines has one of the highest percentages of people in Southeast Asia who do not have a bank account and who transact in cash,” said Ooi Huey Tyng, Managing Director of GrabPay Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines. According to a survey by the central bank of the Philippines, 77% of Filipino adults remain without a bank account.
This development comes weeks after Grab announced its partnership with Vietnamese mobile fintech startup Moca, which lets users pay for goods at 7-Eleven or McDonalds with the app.
In addition to this regulatory nod, Grab had recently been given the green light in the Philippines regarding its merger with former archrival Uber. In Singapore, this deal was deemed ‘anti-competitive’ and both firms were fined.
In the Philippines, Grab competes with accredited home-grown ride-hailing companies like GoLag, HirNa, Hype, MiCab, OWTO, and U-Hop, and will soon be fighting with Indonesian challenger Go-Jek. We earlier reported that Go-Jek appears to be seeking a permit to operate in the Philippines, but that there’s some apprehension around allowing a “big” newcomer into the country.
Editor: Nadine Freischlad