Southeast Asian ride hailing company Grab Holdings Inc is launching a micro-investment product in Singapore that will allow customers to invest as little as S$1 (US$0.73) when they book a ride, order food, or buy groceries using the Grab app.
The product, known as AutoInvest, will be introduced in September under the company’s financial technology business Grab Financial, which will also launch a third-party consumer loan platform that allows Singapore customers to apply for personal loans from its banking partners via the Grab app.
Money invested through AutoInvest will go into “high quality, liquid fixed income funds” offered by Singapore-based fund managers Fullerton Fund Management and UOB Asset Management, Grab Financial says in a statement on August 4. The launch date wasn’t specified.
According to the company, investors can earn an estimated 1.8% return per annum, higher than Singapore’s inflation rate of around 0.5% and fixed deposits that currently offer less than 1%.
Chandrima Das, Grab Financial’s head of wealth, describes AutoInvest as a “first-of-its-kind micro-investment solution”.
“AutoInvest is our commitment to bring value to our consumers and partners with innovative, accessible and easy-to-understand investment solutions,” Ms. Das says in the statement.
The twin launches put Grab Holdings in good position to snag one of the digital banking licences that will be issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), according to a fund manager at an asset management firm in the city state.
“It gives the regulator a better idea on how they can help their customers’ finances and investments,” he tells Asia Asset Management.
Grab Holdings has applied for the licence through a 60:40 joint venture with Singapore Telecommunications Ltd.
MAS, the city state’s central bank, is expected to issue five digital banking licences by the end of the year.
Singapore-based Grab currently offers ride hailing and financial services in Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, in addition to its home market.