Treasury Today Country Profiles in association with Citi

Grab Singapore, Highly Commended, One to Watch

Photo of Vanessa Goh, DBS, Wendy Sun and Angeline Ting, Grab Singapore and Lim Shiang Wen, DBS.

This solution is all about taxi drivers in Singapore being paid quickly and eliminating the need for physical cash payments.

Photo of Vanessa Goh, DBS, Wendy Sun and Angeline Ting, Grab Singapore and Lim Shiang Wen, DBS.

Melvin Vu


Grab is the leading on-demand transportation and mobile payments platform in Southeast Asia. The company was founded in 2012 and operates across seven Southeast Asian countries and more than 140 cities.

in partnership with

Taxi drivers get paid quickly in Singapore with this solution

The challenge

Grab understands their driver-partners are hesitant to accept cashless payments (eg credit/debit card transactions).

The bulk payment mode to support the majority of GrabTaxi drivers for DBS/POSB accountees currently is via GIRO (intra-day run daily) and FAST (Fast and Secure Transfer) for DBS/POSB accountees.

This is not instantaneous and requires Grab’s finance team to invoke payment after the GrabTaxi drivers cash out funds in Grab wallet to their bank accounts. Therefore, the earliest pay-out is usually the next business day.

Hence, Grab has been looking for a solution to encourage driver-partners to embrace the convenience of accepting cashless payment from passengers.

The solution

Real-time payments to drivers

Drivers can cash out the funds in their Grab wallet to their bank accounts instantly at any time of the day. The flow is:

  • Drivers indicate the amount to cash-out from the app.

  • Grab deducts the funds from the wallet and sends the cash-out request to TransferTo, which in turn sends the payment instruction to DBS.

  • DBS will credit the drivers’ account immediately, after withdrawing the funds from Grab’s DBS bank account.

  • DBS will send the payment status to TransferTo within a minute, which in turn sends to Grab.

A reconciliation report listing the drivers’ cash-out for the day will be sent to TransferTo for system reconciliation.

TransferTo will then generate a report for Grab’s users including the total amount and number of cash-outs.

For the launch in July 2017, it was limited to drivers holding DBS/POSB accounts which forms the bulk of the drivers’ community, but the plan was to roll-out to other local bank account holders.

Bank account verification (DBS/POSB accounts)

Before the payment to a new driver, Grab will send the NRIC and DBS/POSB account of the driver to DBS through TransferTo where DBS will match the NRIC with the account.

Best practice and innovation

Grab aimed to roll out the feature to other local bank account holders after the launch in August 2017. The company believes that this solution will encourage the adoption of cashless transactions among the taxi community.

Cabbie Rani Krishnasamy, 51, who drives for SMRT Taxis, welcomed the added convenience.

“With cashless payments and GrabPay, I can just check my bank account five to ten minutes after the transaction to make sure the money goes into my bank account,” she said.

Key benefits

  • With IDEAL Rapid, GrabTaxi drivers with POSB or DBS accounts can convert their cashless earnings into cash and withdraw them from their bank accounts instantly.

  • The feedback has been positive, and adoption of cashless payment among taxi drivers has been growing.

  • Taxi drivers, including those from the pioneer generation, are now using GrabPay and Instant Cash Out daily.

  • Grab’s payments gateway can be easily integrated with DBS IDEAL RAPID solution. With the integration, Grab’s finance team no longer need to initiate any payment for GrabTaxi drivers as it is now automated.