Taxi-booking app company Grab was granted an e-money licence by the Philippines’ central bank, allowing it to expand its full mobile wallet service into the country.

In a statement, the company said its “unique presence” on half of the country’s smartphones with its core app would help millions of customers easily adopt cashless payments.

“The Philippines has one of the highest percentages of people in Southeast Asia who do not have a bank account and who transact in cash,” Ooi Huey Tyng, MD of Grab Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines said, adding the company could “make a difference where other e-wallets have not been able to so far.”

Its licence will allow customers to use Grab financial services beyond paying for taxis and couriers, including third-party retail payments. The company’s plan to expand into the Philippines was unveiled in December with an initial launch timeline of the first half of 2018 cited.

Grab already offers mobile payments for third party services in four of its markets, including Singapore and Malaysia.

As part of its long-term strategy to become Southeast Asia’s universal payments platform, it has struck a number of commercial agreements with banks to expand use in launch countries, and acquired merchant processing company iKaaz to strengthen its offering to retailers.