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Ride-hailing company Grab has launched its e-wallet service GrabPay in Singapore.
The company initially partnered with 25 hawker stalls and restaurants and is looking into collaborating with more merchants in Singapore’s commercial areas such as Telok Ayer, Tanjong Pagar, and Tiong Bahru. Grab aims to incorporate the service in 1,000 merchants by the end of the year and make it available to other places in Southeast Asia by 2018.
For the first six months, the merchants’ transaction fees will be waived. Grab will re-evaluate the cost after that time period but claimed that they will keep the fees low. On the other hand, consumers can continue using their existing GrabPay app for cashless transactions. For every GrabPay transaction, they can earn GrabRewards, a loyalty program where riders earn points for every service they use.
According to Grab, this initiative is a form of support for the move to make Singapore a cashless society. Grab co-founder Tan Hooi Ling also said that they want to bridge the gap between cash-based businesses and new customers by offering the former an affordable means of going cashless.
Singapore’s local hawkers have recently been struggling to keep their heads above water. In addition to rising operational costs and difficulty finding workers, many young Singaporeans are no longer interested in taking over the hawker business.
Aside from Grab, other companies have also offered their platform and service to local hawkers. Food delivery startups like WhyQ, Fastbee, and Yihawker focus on forging partnerships with hawkers, as opposed to major players such as Foodpanda and Deliveroo, which deliver meals from restaurants and cafes.