In the year which saw numerous multi-currency debit card launches like Youtrip Debit Card, Transferwise Debit Card and Revolut Card, Southeast Asian tech giant Grab has also joined the fray with the public launch of its GrabPay MasterCard after announcing its early access program earlier this year.
In this article, I share my thoughts about why the launch of GrabPay MasterCard is great news for consumers while Grab recently confirms its application for a Singapore digital banking license.
It’s a debit card utilising funds from your GrabPay multi-currency wallet
You know how paying with GrabPay using the QR code has become an increasing part of our social lives? Now you can expand its use cases to even more merchants that accept MasterCard – cashless payments for the win!
For merchants and shops that did not have a GrabPay QR code previously, as long as they accept debit and credit cards – chip or contactless – you can utilise your GrabPay funds from your GrabPay wallet in multiple currencies in Southeast Asia!
Why is this better than using cash?
Because carrying cash is not cool anymore. If you travel to cities in China, almost everyone pays via electronic payments like WeChat Pay or AliPay. The ease of payment and convenience of not queueing to withdraw money from the ATM is so liberating.
Earn loyalty reward points from GrabRewards for more free stuff
GrabRewards is a big deal for some Singaporeans, judging from the furore it caused when Grab announced changes to its loyalty program previously without warning, causing some points to be devalued.
Making transactions on Grab allows you to earn GrabReward points which you can redeem for air miles, food and beverages and Grab discount vouchers. These points are valid for six months from your last Grab transaction.
As you earn rewards on the platform, you’ll move up the loyalty tier from Member to Platinum, giving you perks such as accelerated earnings and discounted rewards.
GrabPay payments earn points faster than conventional spending on the Grab app with the earning tiers below:
A typical $100 GrabPay transaction made using either by GrabPay QR or GrabPay MasterCard earns you 1000 points if you’re a Platinum member, which is roughly a S$2.50 value equivalent when you try to redeem stuff on the app.
Did I tell you that you can also use your GrabPay Mastercard overseas – as long as MasterCard is accepted? Of course, some caveats apply, as Grab levies a 2% foreign transaction fee on top of the transaction and the FX rate is not transparent when payment is made.
It’s numberless for security
The GrabPay MasterCard comes with no numbers on the front and back of the card – specifically designed to reduce information theft and fraudulent payments.
In case you lose your card, then it’s very easy to lock your card within the app and prevent it from being used.
The great thing about it being a debit card is that your maximum losses are limited to what you have loaded in your Grab wallet. So as long as you don’t lose your phone and your card, you should have a peace of mind.
Expand on the GrabPay ecosystem benefits
For those who pay their bills, GrabPay can be used as a payment option on the AXS mobile app (update: currently disabled) and the ability to use GrabPay when booking rides in Malaysia and Indonesia makes it very useful in the region.
Grab is the biggest Southeast Asian fintech to watch
With 29 rounds of funding and almost US$9b raised so far, Grab’s reach in our daily lives spans more than just ride hailing but to financials and lifestyle services.
Its growing ecosystem of integrated products and services across the region will strengthen its customer base, deliver highly personalised products and services and expand into uncharted territory where regulations have not caught up with innovations yet.
2020 will be a year to watch – and you can activate your GrabPay MasterCard from within the Grab app. If you don’t have a Grab account yet – here’s a sign up link 🙂