Grab's e-wallet lets users pay for food items

Ms Gloria Soo, 45, Founder of EnerGi Food, showing the Grab screen for customers to pay for her food via GrabPay at her stall at Eden Garden Cafe on Nov 1, 2017. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Eden Garden Cafe has been accepting GrabPay payments on a trial basis since last month, when the company approached her to be part of the first group of merchants. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Grab users will now be able to use the app to pay for nasi padang, muffins and coffee.

The ride-hailing operator's e-payment platform, GrabPay, was extended to 25 restaurants and hawker stalls in the Central Business District and the Bishan area on Wednesday (Nov 1), following its announcement in August.

Previously, GrabPay could be used only to pay for cab rides and to transfer funds.

Grab's focus is to encourage the more than 20,000 merchants in Singapore who mainly or only accept cash as payment to come on board.

By the end of the year, about 1,000 merchants islandwide are expected to offer GrabPay.

"What differentiates us (from other e-payment solutions) is that people are driving the adoption. We've already got four million downloads (of the Grab app) in a country of 5.6 million people," said Mr Jason Thompson, managing director of GrabPay South-east Asia.

To use GrabPay to buy food, a Grab app user can scan a merchant's QR code and key in the amount that he wants to pay, and swipe an icon to confirm the transaction.

There is currently no transaction cost when merchants sign up with GrabPay. This will be reviewed six months later.

Grab joins the increasingly crowded e-payments market here.

The NetsPay app was launched two weeks ago, while online marketplace Qoo10 aims for its QR-code based system, QPay, to be the most widely used cashless payment system here.

Two months ago, tech company Razer submitted its proposal for a unified e-payment system, in response to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's call for integration and simplification of such systems in his National Day Rally speech.

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Food-stall owner Gloria Soo said that her stall has been accepting GrabPay payments on a trial basis since last month, when the company approached her to be part of the first group of merchants.

"I would prefer for more people to use GrabPay than cash, because it is more secure. It is also easier to teach someone new how to accept payment from GrabPay," added the 45-year-old founder of EnerGI Food in Telok Ayer.

This is the first time that GrabPay can be used to pay merchants in South-east Asia.

The app is currently available for ride booking in seven countries in the region, including Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand.

Mr Thompson said the ambition is for GrabPay to be the No. 1 e-wallet platform in the region, and to help small businesses and those still predominantly using cash to adopt the platform.

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