SINGAPORE - Riding on its vision to build the "Asean e-wallet" of choice, Grab on Thursday (Nov 15) announced a remittance offering that will allow both banked and unbanked users to remit money instantly and securely to receivers in another country using their GrabPay wallets.
The remittance product, which was unveiled at the 33rd Asean Summit, will be launched in early 2019.
In contrast to existing options in the market, receivers can access transferred funds instantaneously, said Grab, calling the offering the region's first wallet-to-wallet remittance product.
Receivers can either choose to cash out the remitted sum via the regular network of cash-out points or use it on everyday transactions via their GrabPay wallet.
Grab said that the remittance offering will also pave the way for a multi-currency Asean travel wallet. The e-wallet will "significantly reduce the payment friction for intra-Asean tourism and business travel while enhancing cross-border e-commerce opportunities", said the firm.
"Interoperable real-time regional payment systems will expand opportunities, especially for citizens and small businesses, to access products and services across Asean. We hope to see more of such innovative digital services from the private sector," said Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan, who witnessed the unveiling.
South-east Asia's remittance market was estimated to be worth US$70 billion (S$96 billion) in 2017, and many of the economically-vulnerable foreign workers who comprise one of its most active user groups continue to be reliant on unlicensed agents, said Grab in a press statement.
The industry still suffers from opaque and expensive pricing structures coupled with inefficient delivery operations, which result in a sub-optimal user experience and vast sums lost and unaccounted for, added the firm.
Mr Reuben Lai, senior managing director of Grab Financial, said: "We saw the painful process that consumers go through each time they want to send money across the borders and thought we could make a difference there. Our wallet-to-wallet remittance product will be the first to guarantee the speed, security and ease-of-use which South-east Asia's growing middle class really needs."