Taxi-booking app company Grab will use data gathered from users to conduct credit risk assessments as part of a new joint venture established with Japan-based financial services company Credit Saison.
The joint venture, named Grab Financial Services Asia, will use transaction data from the company’s cab app and GrabPay mobile money service to offer “reliable alternatives to traditional credit ratings” Grab said in a statement. It will do so by tapping Credit Saison’s experience in credit scoring, risk management and product development to offer a range of financial services to “millions of unbanked and underbanked consumers, micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses”.
Jason Thompson, MD for Grab Financial and director of Grab Financial Services Asia (pictured), said the joint venture “puts in place a much-needed infrastructure that will accelerate financial inclusion in Southeast Asia,”
Grab cited Word Bank data showing only 27 per cent of adults in Southeast Asia have a bank account, making it difficult for banks to assess credit and risk using traditional data points including bank account details, income and spending habits, and existing debt. This restricts consumer access to credit, Grab stated.
In the early stages, the venture will focus on providing services for Grab drivers, agents and merchants, such as working capital loans and financing for smartphones.
The finance venture will be able to draw on data from more than 86 million mobile devices to which Grab said its app had been downloaded to-date.