In a bid to liberalize Singapore’s banking sector, Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) had announced in June that it will issue up to two digital full bank licenses and three digital wholesale bank licenses.
Now, Grab, “Southeast Asia’s leading super app” and Singtel, one of the largest telecoms in Singapore, have teamed up to jointly apply for a digital full bank license in Singapore. If the application is passed, the license will allow them to offer simple credit and investment products, before being a full-functioning bank if they meet the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) criteria.
In this partnership, Grab will hold about 60 percent stake while Singtel will hold the other 40 percent. In a joint statement, the companies said: that they are “committed to contributing to the financial services sector with a differentiated offering that addresses the unmet and underserved needs of consumer and enterprise segments in Singapore.”
They added that the consortium will aim to be well-positioned to offer relevant products and services and become a trusted partner for consumers and enterprises. Both companies already provide e-wallet services. While Singtel has Dash, Grab has GrabPay.
This is a major move from Grab, which launched its services in the year 2012 as a as a ride-sharing company. However, it is now touting itself as “Southeast Asia’s leading super app” as it now provides a wide array of service, including transportation, logistics, food delivery, ticket and hotel booking and financial services.
The company had entered the financial space in 2016 when it launched GrabPay Wallet. This happened before the company launched Grab Financial Group earlier this year that includes online payments, lending and insurance products.
Apart from Grab and Singtel, other organisations that have expressed interest in applying for the digital full bank licence include Standard Chartered Bank, NTUC Enterprise, the V3 Group and Razer.