Driving with Faster Payments - Grab
Grab is Southeast Asia's leading ride-hailing platform, solving critical transportation challenges and making transport freedom a reality for 620 million people in the region. After starting out in 2012 as a taxi-hailing app, Grab extended its services by offering private car services (GrabCar), motorcycle taxis (GrabBike), social carpooling (GrabHitch) and last mile delivery (GrabExpress). Grab offers the region’s largest land fleet, with more than 300,000 drivers. Its emphasis on speed, safety and reliability has given it a leading-edge position.
The company currently offers services in 30 cities in six countries – Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
The Payments Dilemma
Grab is focused on pioneering new commuting alternatives for drivers and passengers, and delivering these services using leading-edge technology solutions and innovative mobile apps. The Grab app has garnered more than 15 million downloads.
Since cash is still the preferred option in the region, Grab made it a point to offer cash payments from the start. It also introduced credit card payments for passengers who prefer the convenience of going cashless and receiving electronic receipts. Grab customers can make payments with their credit card by selecting GrabPay and adding their preferred card.
While the app and technology-based services are leading-edge, processes behind the scenes for electronic payments were more challenging. Drivers were only able to do physical top-ups through their mobile provider or via internet banking, and it could take a full day until they saw the top-up in their credit wallet.
Human error was also a challenge, because drivers had to go through a long list to select Grab from amongst many potential payees. Although they often memorised Grab’s position on the page and the number of taps to make, in order to speed up the process, this workaround often resulted in choosing the wrong payee because the list changed periodically. Correcting errors took time and resources, and drivers were very frustrated when their credit was not reflected quickly in their account. To help its drivers, Grab also assigned employees to work over the weekend to assist drivers who drive only on the weekends.
With Grab being an agile company that puts technology at the centre of all it does and leverages automation to drive efficiency, having a payments platform that serves the needs of its passengers and drivers fast and efficiently is of prime importance.
To solve the issues, Grab started evaluating options to speed up settlement of top-up credits for its drivers. Following an in-depth review, DBS Bank offered an omni-channel banking solution that would enable Grab drivers in Singapore to purchase Grab credits through the entire suite of DBS channels.
After evaluating the proposal, Grab decided to work with DBS to put a robust payments management solution in place to ensure that it could offer a very flexible and accessible credit top-up structure and network that would be “always on.”
The omni-channel banking solution includes DBS Bank’s bill payment service and a B2C collections solution offered through touchpoints including DBS iBanking, DBS mBanking, DBS PayLah! and DBS ATMs. Leveraging DBS Bank’s established banking infrastructure as well as the fact that almost 90 percent of Grab drivers were existing DBS or POSB accountholders, this solution gave Grab drivers ready access to more than 1,100 top-up points in Singapore.
The solution enabled Grab to utilise DBS Bank’s established infrastructure, technology and connectivity across multiple channels to facilitate drivers’ credit top-ups. It also offered greater convenience for drivers, who can top up their credits through multiple channels.
Grab now offers drivers a flexible credit and cash-out system that minimises the time needed to cash out credits, offers greater convenience for topping up their credits and gives drivers credit almost immediately.
Once the solution was in place, Grab communicated the details to its drivers. To help its drivers ease into the platform more easily and to make driving with Grab more rewarding, Grab also provided training on how to use the app and 24/7 customer service.
Drivers liked being able to select from more options anywhere they were and to do credit top-ups on their mobile phones. Top-ups are also close to real-time and can be done 24/7. Drivers also like not having to head to physical locations to get credit, and they are not constrained by having to do top-ups only during office working hours.
Jerry Lim, Country Head for GrabTaxi Singapore, said: “We strive to ensure all our drivers have the easiest and most convenient experience when they use Grab. Working with a great partner like DBS provides our drivers with multiple easy options to purchase credits when and wherever they want.”
Since implementing this solution, Grab has seen impressive improvements in convenience, accessibility and speed of payments for drivers, as well as reduced manpower requirements for physical top-ups and improved employee productivity.
Grab has been able to reduce its operating hours on weekends and is now only open on Saturdays from 9 am to 6 pm, compared to 9 am to 9 pm on both Saturdays and Sundays in the past. The reduced demand for physical top-ups after implementation of the solution allows the sales team that used to help drivers with physical top-ups to work shorter hours and carry less cash, improving safety and logistics.
The solution resulted in a 70 percent reduction in physical top-ups, which enabled Grab to reduce manpower costs and improve productivity as well as to focus business resources on higher-value areas.
DBS also shares billing reports with Grab approximately every 30-minutes, so any issues or errors can be quickly identified and rectified, enabling Grab to move with speed and agility.
The solution also gave Grab a significant competitive advantage. Grab was for several years the only ride-hailing platform that offered both cash and credit card payments for passengers in Singapore, so it got a strong head start in meeting the needs of local passengers. The solution places Grab as the top-of-mind preference for drivers, who prefer quick credit cash-outs or top-ups.
Having rolled out the solution successfully in Singapore, Grab can leverage the solution in other markets, though actual implementation may vary depending on the existing cash and credit management infrastructure available as well as driver and passenger preferences in each market.
The credit top-up solution is just one example of how Grab is constantly innovating to revolutionise the payments space, and it will continue to strive for more solutions that can improve convenience for its drivers and efficiency for its business.
(This article was first published in The Asset Magazine: Driving with Faster Payments-Grab.)
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