Southeast Asia’s leading ride-hailing company Grab announced that it will soon offer a cross-border remittance service through its mobile wallet, GrabPay. The company plans to launch the feature in early 2019.
At the 33rd ASEAN Summit in Singapore, Grab said that the foreign remittance service is a significant step towards the company’s vision of a multi-currency ASEAN e-wallet.
The new service allows GrabPay users to send money to receivers in another country. Receivers will be able to access the transferred funds instantly. Receivers can choose to cash out the transmitted funds using GrabPay’s network of cash-out points or use the money for other transactions such as bill payments.
The company said that the remittance process will be convenient and hassle-free. GrabPay users can use their mobile phones to verify their identities, removing the need for personal verification at the bank or money transfer agent.
Grab said that the entire remittance process is fully secure and transparent. Funds are transferred from one GrabPay wallet to another, and the sender will see the all-in fee (including the admin fee and forex rate) before remitting the money so that the receiver will receive the funds without additional discretionary fees.
Some money transfer agents require senders to pay substantial transfer fees or charge additional fees for the immediate collection of funds. Furthermore, some money transfer operators don’t guarantee the end-to-end transfer of funds from the sender to the receiver, which brings uncertainty to the entire remittance process.
“We believe this remittance product will be a game-changer for millions of unbanked or undeserved individuals across Southeast Asia,” said Reuben Lai, Managing Director of Grab Financial.
“We saw the painful process that consumers go through each time they want to send money across the borders and thought we could make a difference there. Our wallet-to-wallet remittance product will be the first to guarantee the speed, security and ease-of-use which Southeast Asia’s growing middle class really needs,” Lai added.
Grab did not disclose which countries will be the first to enjoy the new feature but said that it “will first launch in the largest remittance corridors in Southeast Asia, where there is a high concentration of economically-vulnerable workers.” The company believes that the remittance industry suffers from opaque and expensive pricing structures as well as inefficient delivery operations.
With the smartphone penetration rate in the region continuing to rise, Grab hopes that its mobile payments service will catch on and topple the traditional money transfer operators.
At the moment, GrabPay is available in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. GrabPay started its Philippines operations last October 8.