GrabPay to expand PHL mobile wallet services

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GRAB PHILIPPINES (MyTaxi.PH, Inc.) is set to expand its GrabPay mobile wallet services here after it obtained central bank approval, a top official said on Thursday.

At a press conference in Pasay City, Managing Director of GrabPay Malaysia, Singapore and Philippines Ooi Huey Tyng said it will launch “very soon” more expanded GrabPay services, which include bills payment and in-store and in-restaurant purchase, after it received an e-money license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) last August.

“Consumers can use our app to pay at merchants and also shop online and pay bills in-app,” Ms. Ooi said on Thursday.

In the expanded service, Grab users in the Philippines will be able to order food, pay bills and purchase from retail stores and restaurants through a quick response or QR code.

Currently, GrabPay services include peer-to-peer fund transfers, ride payment and prepaid phone top-up.

GrabPay users in the country may also pay in Grab’s partner-merchants as well as accumulate and redeem rewards in other markets such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Ms. Ooi said Grab, which is an application found in one in two smartphones in the Philippines, can help increase digital payments in the country as it offers a low-entry barrier to secure cashless payment options for both consumers and merchants.

“With the support from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, we can now help millions participate in the cashless, digital economy without the need for a bank account or to download additional apps,” she said.

According to the 2017 Financial Inclusion Survey of the BSP, 22.6% or some 15.8 million Filipino adults maintained formal accounts as of last year. Those with e-money accounts reached just 1.3%.

The BSP targets to raise the share of digital payments to 20% of total transactions by 2020 from a measly one percent in 2013 through its National Retail Payment System.

Ms. Ooi is confident it can grow the GrabPay usage which is currently at 20% of total Grab users in the Philippines.

“This is a big encouragement for us to see consumers see the benefit of paying [through] cashless [methods],” she said. “So we expect the penetration to continue to grow beyond 20%.”

Amid issues on internet connectivity, she said mobile payments in the country “will take off” as internet use in the country continues to increase.

“What is encouraging is…that internet adoption actually increased essentially in just over a year. And that will get better.” — Karl Angelo N. Vidal