Grab, Citi forge deal on cashless payments
Global banking giant Citi and Southeast Asia’s leading ride-hailing platform Grab have teamed up to promote cashless payments, enticing credit card holders with discounts and freebies and allowing the use of credit card points as currency in commuting.
The partnership—a first for Asia —will be rolled out in five markets in Asia-Pacific, beginning in the Philippines and Singapore, with Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to follow shortly, Citi announced in a statement from Singapore.
“By grounding our reputation in safety, quality and availability, Grab is now the trusted, ride-hailing leader in our six markets with one in eight smartphone users in Southeast Asia already on our platform. As customers use Grab for their regular transport needs, many of them are choosing to go cashless by adopting GrabPay for a more seamless ride experience. We are thrilled to partner with Citi to extend its best-in-class loyalty capabilities to make it easier to serve and reward our customers in the region,” said Joel Yarbrough, head of payments and commerce product at Grab.
“Our strategy in consumer banking is to be the world’s leading digital bank which includes delivering a remarkable client experience in key digital ecosystems. We have seen that the rapid adoption of mobile and other digital channels has truly transformed how and where people bank and we are delighted to partner with Grab. By integrating our services into key applications such as Grab we also will drive growth in our cards business via new acquisitions and increased customer loyalty,” said Anand Selva, head of Citi’s Asia Pacific consumer banking.
As part of the initial phase, customers who added their Citi credit card to GrabPay, Grab’s mobile payment platform, would receive a discounted first ride.
The partnership is also seen as a way for Citi to attract cardholders among Grab users. Grab customers who sign up for any Citi credit card through the partnership gets a number of free rides worth up to $50.
The next phase will allow customers to pay for Grab rides using points. Citibank credit cardholders who charge their Citi credit card on GrabPay will receive a SMS from Citi requesting if they would like to redeem the ride for points. Upon replying with their acceptance, the redemption will be made automatically and reflected in the customer’s monthly statement.
This innovative pay for rides service is the first in the region, enabling credit cardholders to easily exchange their points for on-demand redemption for smaller, daily transactions—in one step.
For Citi cardholders, the points earned depend on the type of card. Generally, a cardholder earns one point for every P30 of spending. Citi and Grab will announce soon how points will be converted to Grab peso bill.
Grab currently operates in 30 cities across Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam—markets and cities through which Citi offers consumer banking services including credit cards. Grab seeks to solve critical transportation challenges for 620 million people in Southeast Asia. It began as a taxi-hailing app in 2012 but it has expanded its core product platform to include private cars and motorbikes. Grab is also testing new services such as social carpooling, as well as last mile and food deliveries.
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