Launching a new digital payments service in Southeast Asia

There’s a new breed of regional super apps looking to push digital financial services across Asia. 11:FS has been at the heart of this, working with Singaporean ride-hailing firm Grab, supporting the design and go to market strategy of its Grab Financial GrabPay Mastercard digital services and wallet.

Digital services where cash is king

Grab is the ride hailing Unicorn that has had to solve problems others haven’t. They operate in markets where cash dominates, where traditional banking doesn’t serve the majority of the population and many of their drivers rely on them for a stable income stream.

Its answer is Grab Financial, with a vision to provide a whole suite of financial services inside its super app ecosystem, with the challenger offering at the core.

Not only would this potentially financially include tens of millions of people, it could improve their ability to manage periods of low income, or save for a rainy day.

11:FS’ experience and on the ground support has been valuable in helping us focus and create a product that works for both our users and our business. Their input to strategy, marketing, go-to-market, product launch and design work was first class, and exactly what we wanted from our first partnership with them.

Wes Sturman

Senior Product Manager, GrabPay

Making a digital vision a market reality

Grab Financial engaged with 11:FS to support the launch of its GrabPay Mastercard. The project had three core objectives:

  • Launch a best in class digital payment product for South East Asia.
  • Build a product and roadmap that would ensure an endurable product edge.
  • Have a clear go-to-market and message to stand out from the crowd.

Grab, of course, has plenty of talented people to execute and deliver, but when it came to researching and defining the scope of the service, it required in depth research and proposition design. Southeast Asia is not one place, it’s many. Singapore and the Philippines are dramatically different markets, but both were primary markets for the new GrabPay offering.

A card could help people use e-commerce for the first time in some markets, or in others it could make an FX transaction much simpler and transparent. Helping this all fit inside a super app, was a daunting challenge, that impacted everything from pricing, marketing, brand strategy and design.

Revealing product fit

11:FS ran a comprehensive Discovery project, based out of Singapore, that covered the breadth of the offering. This began by reviewing Grab's go-to-market strategy and benchmarking the strategy and service against best in class offerings globally.

From this, the 11:FS team then identified gaps against Grab’s stated aim for GrabPay service to be the most comprehensive app for users. In collaboration with Grab’s teams, the launch strategy was re-focused, and the branding, pricing model and commercial strategy reworked.

Finally, 11:FS created a comprehensive library of design assets for customer acquisition and on-boarding of users onto GrabPay.

GrabPay: Southeast Asia’s leading digital wallet

Taking the 11:FS findings and ideas to the core of the offering, Grab set about building the app. In December 2019, it announced the launch of its Grab Pay Mastercard that sits at the core of its super app.

The GrabPay Mastercard is a significant step in Grab Financial’s strategic vision. It is the region’s first numberless card with access to an expanded rewards network and seamless Grab payments integration. It allows users, regardless of whether they have a bank account, to transact securely and easily online or offline, at nearly 53m merchants worldwide that accept Mastercard cards.

As an extension of the GrabPay wallet, it is highly secure with card details stored securely within the Grab app. It also has an in-app lock card function that is PIN-protected, allowing users to instantly suspend payments for lost cards.

Where super app’s go from here is only going to get more interesting. With Singapore and Malaysia both announcing their own Virtual Banking licences, the big tech companies from Asia are well placed to help the most underserved and over charged in ways that traditional banks can’t.

We’re proud to have played a major part in those developments through our collaboration with GrabPay on the launch it’s Mastercard.

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