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FINANCIAL TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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Ride hailing firm Grab inks prepaid card partnership with Mastercard

Customers can transact and top up their prepaid cards through any drivers and merchants.

Grab will issue both virtual and physical Mastercard prepaid cards to allow customers to transact with online and offline merchants accepting Mastercard, an announcement revealed.

The partnership will issue the prepaid cards through GrabPay, Grab’s e-wallet, which will extend the use of its digital wallet and help unbanked users transact online, Grab said. Users can top up their prepaid cards through any drivers, agents and merchants on the GrabPay platform. Grab and Mastercard expect to launch the cards in 2019, starting with Singapore and the Philippines.

“Not only does this solidify Grab’s position as Southeast Asia’s undisputed fintech leader, but it also enables the region’s 400 million unbanked and underserved consumers to buy goods and services online,” senior managing director for Grab financial Reuben Lai said.

Grab users can apply for the prepaid card directly from the Grab app and will receive a virtual card in their GrabPay wallets, the announcement said. It will also offer a physical prepaid card which will be enabled by both near field communication (NFC) and EMV chip technology.

“Without changing infrastructure, we can now offer merchants the opportunity to tap into Grab’s user base of emerging middle-class consumers, covering 1 in 6 mobile phones in Southeast Asia,” Rama Sridhar, executive vice president for digital and emerging partnerships and new payment flows for Mastercard, said.

The virtual cards will also enable users to use it as a ‘prepaid travel card’ as users can top up their accounts with different currencies and potentially save on exchange fees, Grab said.

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