Is FinTech the Future of Ride-hailing?

July 27, 2018 - 3 minutes read

As FinTech develops, online- and cloud-based firms are some of the first companies that integrate the newest technology into payment processors and payroll. Uber’s recent merger with Southeast Asian ride-hailing company Grab brought about some updates to Grab’s interface and operations.

This type of innovation is rarely seen in companies who have been recently taken over. But it hasn’t stopped Grab from experimenting to find what their customers like best.

Pivoting Other Businesses to Mobile Payment

Grab took over Uber’s customers in Southeast Asia, a move that helped the San Francisco tech company avoid fully dropping out of business in India and the rest of that region. One of Grab’s cofounders, Hooi Ling Tan, spoke in Aspen, Colorado recently. She says, “We’ve been able to focus a lot more on serving Uber’s customers beyond transportation,” and that the financial services and payments aspect of Grab’s business is expected to generate “20 times” the amount of revenue of transportation.

Grab’s app allows consumers to order cars, taxis, and even motorcycles. It also recently started accepting mobile payment. Their newest app, GrabPay, is now being used in other small businesses and merchants to accept mobile payments on-demand. Although the Singapore-headquartered company still takes cash payments, it is trying to move its customers into digital currency instead, citing cash’s inefficiency.

Plans for Expansion?

Investors in Grab include Softbank, Didi Chuxing, and Toyota, which puts the company at over a $10 billion valuation. This funding is allowing Grab to experiment and release new products that niche ride-hailing companies typically wouldn’t pursue.

Tan wants Grab to be a daily part of people’s lives. She elaborated, “We want Grab to be the thing that you just need to take out from home without having to worry about your wallet.” And at the rate at which Grab’s expanding and diversifying, it very well will be a part of daily life for billions of Indians and Southeast Asians in the coming years.

Uber has no plans to follow Grab’s plan in its own territories. Would you use a payment app across various shops if it were owned and operated by Uber? With Uber’s continuous issues regarding a sexist culture, driver-passenger disputes, and now, vomit fraud, it’s safe to say that Uber’s trustworthiness in America is likely much lower than Grab’s integrity in Southeast Asia. So it would seem that ride-hailing’s future isn’t FinTech — at least not for Uber in America.

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