Grab partners Thailand's KBank to launch e-wallet, gets $68.6m investment from bank

SINGAPORE - Grab on Thursday (Nov 8) announced a partnership with Thailand's Kasikornbank (KBank) to launch mobile payment application GrabPay by KBank.

The mobile wallet, which is slated to be launched as soon as early 2019, will allow Grab customers to pay for transport and delivery services, transfer funds, purchase products and services online, and make QR-code payments in restaurants and shops across Thailand.

Through Thailand's national e-payments scheme called PromptPay, all three million QR-enabled merchants in the country will be able to accept GrabPay by KBank.

KBank has also made a US$50 million (S$68.6 million) strategic investment in Grab, as part of Grab's ongoing fundraising round that includes Toyota Motor Corporation, Microsoft Corp, Booking Holdings and Hyundai Motor Group.

The investment is a first for KBank in an international firm with a core business outside Thailand. Beyond the e-wallet, features from KBank's K PLUS app and the Grab app will be integrated across both platforms.

KBank and Grab will also jointly offer products to their customer base, including loans to help merchants grow their business. Customers will also be offered access to Grab for Business to improve corporate transport expense management, as well as increase brand awareness and engagement through Grab's advertising solution.

 
 

According to the Bank of Thailand, 68 per cent of transactions in the country are still being carried out in cash.

Mr Reuben Lai, senior managing director of Grab Financial, said in a press statement: "This partnership makes Grab Financial the first mobile payments platform to launch e-money-licensed payments services across Asean-6 and underlines the strength of our partnership-based strategy."

The Asean-6 countries are Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand.

Mr Lai added in a media briefing on Thursday morning that Grab's vision is to enable its consumers to transact across South-east Asia using a single mobile app. The company will adopt a similar partnership-based approach to drive this vision.

Mr Lai said that Grab is well-positioned to achieve its goal due to it having the regional reach, consumer insights as well as trust and use-cases.