DBS to partner Carousell to build startup's mobile wallet CarouPay

Integrated payment system within Carousell app will allow buyers to make payments without using third-party fund transfer platforms or meet-ups


SINGAPORE'S largest bank, DBS, has emerged as more than just a financial investor in Carousell. DBS will work with the online classifieds startup to build and implement the latter's new mobile wallet, CarouPay, The Business Times has learnt.

This comes as DBS announced last week that it was a new investor in Carousell, having participated in the startup's US$85 million Series C funding round. DBS is also no stranger to mobile wallets - it launched its own such wallet, DBS PayLah!, in 2014.

A DBS spokesman said: "We are supportive of CarouPay and will work with Carousell to find ways to make the checkout process more seamless."

CarouPay - set to launch in June - is an integrated payment system within the Carousell app. It will allow buyers to make payments to sellers without having to use third-party fund transfer platforms or rely on meet-ups to complete transactions.

A Carousell spokesman said: "Following feedback from our user community, we found that the payment experience is one of the limitations around buying and selling today.

"Much like all of the product updates and features we embark on, we want to make sure we prioritise the development of features that will be beneficial for the majority of Carousell users."

She added that CarouPay will bring the "convenience and assurance" that its users have been waiting for. "We don't have any further details to share right now, but we welcome you to watch this space in the coming weeks."

At launch, CarouPay will be for use only within the Carousell platform, BT has learnt. Carousell will not - at least for now - extend CarouPay to external merchants and create a nationwide unified e-payments system that would put it in competition with players such as Grab (with its mobile wallet GrabPay) and Razer (RazerPay).

CarouPay was unveiled at the Tech in Asia conference recently by Carousell co-founder and chief Quek Siu Rui, who said the startup is working with payment partners in South-east Asia to implement the wallet. DBS is now affirmed to be a partner.

The DBS spokesman told BT that "ubiquity in payments" is a strategy the bank has been pursuing in the last few years. "We have more than 60,000 offline points of service where our payment methods can be used in Singapore, and have been actively growing our online presence as well. Today, a significant portion of Carousell users are using DBS PayLah! to transact with each other."

DBS has launched three online marketplaces since the Monetary Authority of Singapore proposed last year to make it easier for banks to conduct or invest in non-financial businesses such as e-commerce and e-payment platforms.

The three marketplaces are:

  • DBS Car Marketplace, a direct seller-to-buyer car marketplace in partnership with sgCarMart and Carro;
  • DBS Electricity Marketplace, which allows households to switch to other retailers following the liberalisation of the retail electricity market in Singapore; and
  • Property Marketplace, a platform that connects tenants and landlords.

This investment in Carousell is said to further expand DBS' ecosystem partnerships.

DBS chief Piyush Gupta said: "The logic is compelling. With the ubiquity of the smartphone, customers increasingly want banking to be seamlessly integrated into their daily lives. There are a number of areas where a banking service can be nicely integrated into e-commerce, and we welcome the opportunity to do so."