GrabPay available at eateries in CBD, Bishan
Grab plans to roll out GrabPay to 1,000 merchants here, before expanding overseas
Grab users will now be able to use their e-wallets on the popular ride-sharing app to pay for food at 25 hawker stalls and restaurants in the Central Business District and Bishan area, its first step towards expanding the cashless payment option throughout the region.
Mr Jason Thompson, the managing director for GrabPay in South-east Asia, said at the launch event that the company aims to become "the number one wallet in South-east Asia".
"With our large base of users already conveniently paying for rides and merchants who are coming on board, we will begin to see GrabPay available everywhere to everyone," he said.
Grab, who said its app is now present in four million mobile phones in Singapore, is targeting hawkers and small businesses here who primarily conduct their business with cash.
They plan to roll out GrabPay to 1,000 merchants here by the end of this year and to the rest of South-east Asia in 2018.
According to Grab, its app has been downloaded onto over 63 million devices across seven countries in South-east Asia, including Singapore.
To pay for purchases, customers have to load money onto their e-wallet or receive a transfer of credits from another GrabPay user.
They can then scan the merchant's QR code.
The merchant will be able to confirm on its app that the transaction successfully occurred, and the funds will be transferred to its bank account at the end of the day.
The company will not charge transaction fees for the first six months and will evaluate their next steps after.
Ms Gloria Soo, whose EnerGI stall has been selling healthy food at Telok Ayer for the past five months, said about 16 customers used GrabPay yesterday.
She said GrabPay was convenient and helped her serve customers much faster compared to cash, NETS and NETSFlashPay, which the stall accepts.
"It helps me avoid mistakes, and even if I have a part-timer who comes in, it's very easy to teach them," she said.
Her only concern was that funds would not reach her account instantly, meaning that she would have to prepare cash ahead of time to pay suppliers.
GrabPay joins a gamut of cashless payment options in Singapore, including DBS' PayLah!, PayNow, Alipay, Liquid Pay and FavePay.
Dr Seshan Ramaswami, an associate professor of marketing education at Singapore Management University (SMU), said: "There is a natural advantage in GrabPay's existing set of subscribers who are already using it to pay cab fares, but I doubt if that is enough of an advantage to overcome the large systems of the big banks and PayNow which may work across all bank accounts and which have potentially tens of thousands of more accounts of consumers."
Associate Professor Boh Wai Fong from the Nanyang Business School of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) said that despite the large customer base, the question is whether they can sign up a critical mass of merchants.