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Grab to launch remittance service next year, targeting foreign workers and regional travellers

Written by Elaine Huang Published on 

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Grab inches towards its one Asean e-wallet vision.

Southeast Asian O2O giant Grab announced Thursday to add a wallet-to-wallet remittance function to its e-wallet GrabPay, as the company inches towards its “one ASEAN e-wallet” vision against the backdrop of an increasingly competitive mobile payment market.

A World Bank stats quoted by Grab suggest that remittance market size in the region was estimated to be US$70 billion in 2017.

According to Grab, the new function, to be launched in early 2019, will enable cross-border remittance among ASEAN GrabPay users, be them banked or unbanked. And the process will be fast, convenient, and low-cost, serving two typical group of customers including foreign workers and travellers.

One Asian e-wallet

There are around 10 million migrants in Southeast Asia, of which seven million come from within the region. According to East Asia Forum, within Southeast Asia, “a few” countries are “particularly reliant on inbound remittances”. One, for example, is the Philippines, which in 2014 saw 10% of its GDP come from remittances.

Typically, those who need to transfer money to others may be limited to traditional money transfer operators like Western Union or MoneyGram. While for some who want to save on transaction fees, they might choose the unlicensed agents.

Besides serving the growing economic migrant community within Southeast Asia, this remittance product will also pave the way for a multi-currency ASEAN-travel wallet that will significantly reduce the payment friction for intra-ASEAN tourism and business travel while enhancing cross-border e-commerce opportunities.

Reuben Lai, Senior Managing Director, Grab Financial said in a statement that this feature “will be a game-changer for millions of unbanked or underserved individuals across Southeast Asia”.

Editor: Ben Jiang

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