In his 2017 National Day Rally speech, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke about how Singapore was lagging behind other countries, such as China, when it comes to e-payments. A cashless society plays a huge part in Singapore’s move towards becoming the world’s first Smart Nation, along with digital and technological progress and innovation. However, 60% of payments in Singapore are still transacted using cash and cheques.

Answering to Mr Lee’s call is Grab, whose aim of driving mass adoption of mobile payments in Singapore and across Southeast Asia is gaining traction quickly. The feature of transferring Grab credits to others was rolled out in September last year, and these credits can be used to pay for your Grab ride. It’ll also help to split bills when taking rides with others.

On a further push towards cashless transactions, at least 25 eateries – including homegrown bakery chain Cedele, and the recent night market Flashbang – are currently utilising the electronic GrabPay platform. In fact, at Grab’s pop-up store held at Plaza Singapura over Christmas, seven out of ten shoppers reportedly used up all their GrabRewards points.

To use GrabPay to purchase merchandise, you need to scan the QR code and key in the amount that you want to pay, then swipe an icon to confirm the transaction. No additional application or further download is required, making it extremely convenient.

Merchants also receive their earned revenue at the end of each day, ensuring a smooth cash flow for these small businesses. Grab does not impose any transactional charges for the first six months, and neither is any additional device needed to facilitate the system.

While Grab’s mobile wallet is open to all merchants, the firm will be focusing on our island’s 20, 000 cash-only merchants, such as hawker stalls. “We want to help these home-grown businesses and micro-entrepreneurs grow by giving access to a low cost and easy-to-use mobile payment solution, new revenue and marketing exposure to our large customer base of 4 million users in Singapore,” GrabPay SEA Managing Director Jason Thompson explains.

Thompson carried on to share that Singapore is the first country chosen to trial GrabPay beyond transportation, with 75% of Grab riders here using GrabPay to pay for their trips.

At the same time, an improved GrabRewards system is also in play to entice more users. This includes existing partnerships with brands such as Starbucks, Zalora and Singapore Airlines.

Grab hit one billion rides in October, and currently has more than 77 million mobile downloads across the region.

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