Grab optimistic for GrabPay to lure at least 1000 merchants before 2017 ends

Grab officials are hoping to draw in 20,000 merchants to GrabPay in the future.

grabpay singapore launch
A woman holding her iPhone device (Reuters)

Ride-hailing company Grab launched GrabPay wallet on Wednesday, November 1 with the support of 25 eateries. At the launch event for the e-payment system in Singapore, the officials of the Southeast Asian unicorn revealed they are optimistic to eventually lure in 20,000 merchants to the service in the future or at least 1,000 before the year ends.

Grab is taking one step at a time with GrabPay, an e-payment platform that allows customers to pay at a registered merchant's counter using the Grab app. Starting with 25 eateries in Singapore, the spin-off service's debut include homegrown bakery chain Cedele, Cafe Zeppin, Park Bench Deli, A Poke Theory and Napoleon Wine Bar, among others.

Also read: Razer lays out plans for Singapore's first unified e-payment system

To use GrabPay, customers must launch the Grab app and choose the GrabPay option. Select "pay" and scan the QR code available at the shop's counter. The amount should then be entered so the shop owner and the customer will be notified of the transaction.

In hopes to attract more merchants, Grab will not be levying the transaction fee on the merchant's end in the first six months. A minimal amount of fee will be asked after the six-month grace period.

Officials are outspoken of their vision for GrabPay. In fact, Grab co-founder Hooi Ling Tan revealed that they are gunning to draw in more than 20,000 cash-based shops for the service or at least 1,000 before 2018 starts to unfold.

Nets, the leading digital payment service in the country, has been ramping up its efforts to strengthen its presence by rolling out varying payment modes. Most recently, the company has divulged its plan to open its 100,000 gateways across all modes of payment like QR codes, contactless card, app and digital Nets ATM card.

Tan is unfazed, however. She has stressed the advantage of Grab in terms of the number of existing customers to whom they can pitch their digital payment service.

"The biggest differentiator is actually the customer base that we have," says Tan. "For other payment apps...the biggest challenge they have is usually to get new customers to download the app. The best thing about Grab is we already have 65 million users in Southeast Asia, four million in Singapore."

Despite the e-payment systems are all the rage in Singapore, the national government has been hoping to deliver the country's first unified e-payment system in the near future which Razer has been hard at work since co-founder Min-Liang Tan offered his hands to Prime Minister Hsien Loong Lee back in August.

This article was first published on November 2, 2017