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Citi credit card payment for Grab rides soon

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CITI credit card holders will be able to pay for their Grab rides in Singapore and the Philippines starting this month, with three other countries in South-east Asia - Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand - to follow later this year.

CITI credit card holders will be able to pay for their Grab rides in Singapore and the Philippines starting this month, with three other countries in South-east Asia - Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand - to follow later this year.

Citi has yet to announce the exact date but the partnership between the banking giant and the ride-hailing app is a first for Asia.

The service aims to encourage the convenience of cashless payment and it marks the first time globally that Citi is integrating its credit cards with a transportation application.

According to Grab, it is the ride-hailing leader in its six markets, with one in eight smartphone users in South-east Asia using its platform.

"As customers use Grab for their regular transport needs, many of them are choosing to go cashless by adopting GrabPay for a more seamless ride experience,'' said Joel Yarbrough, Grab's head of payments and commerce product.

Citi's strategy in consumer banking is to be the world's leading digital bank, said its head of Asia-Pacific consumer banking, Anand Selva, and this includes delivering a "remarkable client experience'' in key digital ecosystems.

He added: "We have seen that the rapid adoption of mobile and other digital channels has truly transformed how and where people bank and we are delighted to partner with Grab. By integrating our services into key applications such as Grab we also will drive growth in our cards business via new acquisitions and increased customer loyalty."

Citibank Singapore CEO Han Kwee Juan explained that one example is how new customers can sign up for a Citi card through the Grab App, while existing customers enjoy promotions like discounted or free rides.

As part of the initial phase, customers who add their Citi credit card to GrabPay, Grab's mobile payment platform, will receive a discounted first ride. In return, Grab customers who sign up for any Citi credit card through the partnership will get a number of free rides worth up to US$50.

In the next phase, customers will be allowed to pay for Grab rides using points. Citi said this "pay for rides'' service is the first in the region enabling credit card holders to easily exchange their points for on-demand redemption for smaller, daily transactions in one step.

Grab currently operates in 30 cities across Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam with the following services: GrabTaxi, GrabCar, GrabBike, GrabHitch and GrabExpress. In all these markets, Citi offers consumer banking services including credit cards.