Grab, AirAsia and Go-Jek lead Asean corporate charge into payments
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Grab, AirAsia and Go-Jek lead Asean corporate charge into payments

Three transport groups push into financial services; financial inclusion intended as a profitable mainstay.


Alibaba and Tencent have demonstrated that the world of payments is no longer the exclusive territory of banks.

Their model is now gaining traction in southeast Asia, where a Singapore-based, Indonesia-focused transport platform and a Malaysian budget airline announced plans to move into financial services within three days of one another.

Singapore’s Grab and Malaysia’s AirAsia announced the launch of Grab Financial and BigPay respectively, joining Indonesia’s motorbike-based ride-hailing firm Go-Jek, which acquired three local fintech firms in December and combined them into its Go-Pay brand.

All three institutions made landmark presentations at the Money 20/20 conference in Singapore this week.

Grab’s move is not surprising, and indeed Euromoney predicted it in 2016, since the Singapore-based ride-hailing service has talked for at least two years about the lack of a universal payments platform in southeast Asia and has had a payments business through its GrabPay brand throughout.

It was already partnered with Bank Mandiri in Indonesia, Lippo Group, Alipay and Citi, the latter in a scheme allowing card customers to burn loyalty points in exchange for taxis.

However, the scale of Grab Financial at launch is impressive.

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