Grab and UOB partner to accelerate use of digital services in ASEAN markets

United Overseas Bank (UOB) and Grab have entered into an alliance in a bid to accelerate the use of digital services among ASEAN’s growing base of digital consumers. The alliance will enable UOB to deliver financial services to Grab’s ASEAN-wide user base and to accelerate the bank’s efforts to meet the needs of the region’s ‘mobile-first’ and ‘mobile-only’ consumers. As such, Grab will also be able to offer directly from its app a number of payment solutions from the bank’s suite.

Under the alliance, UOB will become Grab’s preferred banking partner in Singapore and a credit card partner for Grab in markets such as Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Consumers will be able to receive special privileges when paying for Grab services with UOB cards, as both companies aim to explore launching co-branded credit cards in ASEAN.

Grab will also tap the bank’s cash management services to provide consumers the convenience of topping up their GrabPay wallet directly from their bank account. Through this, Grab looks to increase the number of ways consumers can add money to their GrabPay wallet, which include topping up through credit and debit card or Grab’s network of drivers, agents and merchants. The bank is also working with Grab to embed features of its upcoming digital bank within Grab’s mobile app, enabling users to access banking services "quickly and conveniently", it said in a statement.

In addition, as part of the alliance, UOB also looks to explore support for Grab in a number of other areas, from fleet financing, regional and centralised treasury management solutions, to workplace banking services.

Wee Ee Cheong (pictured left), deputy chairman and chief executive officer, UOB said that the alliance with Grab represents two "like-minded" companies harnessing its respective strengths to create value for consumers and to drive greater access to financial services in the region. He added that the alliance will also complement the bank's efforts to scale up its customer franchise across ASEAN.

“We are thrilled to welcome UOB as our strategic partner in Singapore and across the region. To have one of the largest banking groups in Southeast Asia join hands with us underlines the potential of Grab’s user base and platform to drive business success for our partners. By combining our strengths, we will offer consumers more convenient payments services regionally and help more people move from cash to cashless," Anthony Tan (pictured right), co-founder and CEO of Grab, said.

Most recently, StarHub and United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB) partnered to provide digital solutions to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to help accelerate digitalisation efforts. This sees the formation of a digital marketplace which announced in August. The collaboration looks to help SMEs and new companies thrive in the digital economy, and is in line with the government’s SMEs Go Digital initiative, a statement read.