Singapore-based taxi booking company Grab plans to launch its digital payments platform GrabPay in the Philippines in the first half of 2018 and is holding discussions with the country’s central bank about acquiring an e-licence.
Grab Philippines public affairs manager Leo Emmanuel Gonzales said it plans to roll out GrabPay as a digital payment app for retail purchases by Q1 or Q2, BusinessWorld reported.
The company currently offers mobile payment services via its top-up service GrabPay Credits and its rewards system GrabRewards.
Grab launched GrabPay’s store and restaurant payments feature in Singapore in November after first rolling out peer-to-peer fund transfer services in August, as its first step towards a goal of moving into the wider mobile payments space.
It also signed a number of deals with mobile payment companies in Asia.
Grab claims 63 million users across Southeast Asia.
The company’s move into payments will see it compete with China-headquartered m-commerce companies Tencent, which operates WeChat Pay, and Ant Financial (Alipay) as they seek to expand beyond their home market. WeChat Pay is used by 600 million, Alipay 800 million.
In November Grab rival Uber signed a deal to accept payment for journeys through the MoMo wallet in Vietnam – its first deal with a mobile payment company in Southeast Asia.