Grab offers firms loans of up to $100,000

Technology company Grab is offering loans of up to $100,000 to companies under its latest business initiative.

The loan process takes two minutes and can be done online. Companies that are successful in their loan applications can receive the money in three days.

Grab, which charges interest from 1 per cent a month, advertised the loan option on Facebook earlier this week. The ad provides more details on Grab's foray into financial services, a segment the online platform has been eyeing.

Grab is most recognisable in Singapore as a ride-hailing platform.

It also provides food and delivery services, and has a mobile wallet as well as a fintech arm called Grab Financial.

When asked about the loan initiative, a spokesman for the company said the initiative "provides working capital support which we know is a key area of concern for micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses as they scale".

Grab, the spokesman added, is "committed to supporting the growth of micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses". It did not respond to questions on the initiative's launch date, its loan assessment criteria and the loan volume so far.

Grab had announced in March last year a partnership with one of Japan's largest consumer financing companies, Credit Saison, to provide loans to consumers, micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses across South-east Asia.

The focus, it said, was on providing working capital loans, financing for smartphones and consumer goods financing to "meet the needs" of Grab drivers, agents and merchants. Grab said then it will use data sets such as transport movement, geo-location and transaction data as reliable alternatives to traditional credit ratings.

The tech company has raised more than US$8 billion (S$10.9 billion) since it was formed in June 2012. It secured US$1.46 billion from the Softbank Vision Fund, a subsidiary of Japan's Softbank, according to an announcement by Grab earlier this month.

The financial injection came during the company's latest round of Series H funding, with investors such as Toyota Motor, Oppenheimer Funds, Hyundai Motor, Booking Holdings, Microsoft Corp, Ping An Capital and Yamaha Motor together contributing US$4.5 billion.