Grab’s financial services expansion shows power of data

The ride-hailing app says its low default rate is a result of the credit profiles it has built on its drivers. No wonder it is expanding in lending and insurance.

Singapore-headquartered Grab wants to attract 100 million entrepreneurs across Southeast Asia onto its ride-hailing platform by 2020.

The ambitious target outlined by co-founder and group chief executive Anthony Tan on Monday sees financial services enabled by its data-gathering platform as a key part of the enticement.

Grab’s default rate on its US$737 million loan book is below 1.5%, which beats the average for similar emerging Asian markets lending to small-to-medium sized businesses, said Jason Thompson, the managing director for GrabPay across Southeast Asia.

The loans were extended across roughly two years helping its 2.6 million drivers fund such purchases...

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