Lifestyle Business

Life in the fast lane

Julie Cabatit-Alegre - The Philippine Star
Life in the fast lane
Mukul Sukhani, Citi Philippines cards and loans director; Manoj Varma, Citi Philippines consumer bank head; Huey Tyng Ooi, managing director, GrabPay Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines; and Brian Cu, Grab Philippines president

MANILA, Philippines — With the catchy tagline “Life in the fast lane,” Grab, Southeast Asia’s leading super app, and Citi, the largest pan-regional credit card issuer, launched their first co-branded credit card, Citi Grab.

“Cardholders will be introduced to a whole new level of access, value, and convenience with the Citi Grab credit card,” says Huey Tyng Ooi, managing director of GrabPay Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

It was in 2016 that Grab and Citi started their regional partnership across six markets in Southeast Asia, which enabled Citi cardholders to use their reward points and miles to pay for their Grab rides. It has since widened its scope to include all of Grab’s other services.

Beyond transport, Grab has expanded to food delivery and parcel services as well as the GrabPay wallet payment solution.

“This is an evolution of the partnership,” says Manoj Varma, consumer bank head of Citi Philippines.

The new Citi Grab co-brand credit card allows both companies to benefit from each other’s respective strengths. Grab will be able to offer its users credit-card benefits and rewards and extend its offering to Citi’s affluent cardholder base in the region, while Citi will be able to scale its business through Grab’s unique mobile-first user base.

“We are very excited because there is a high degree of overlap of our customer base,” Varma remarked. “They are obviously young customers who are on-the-go a lot. They are digitally and mobile-savvy. They are looking for convenience and personalization. They are also credit card users. Credit-card spend is growing very rapidly in the Philippines, and one in five customers in the Philippines put their credit-card spend on Citibank card.”

Citi Philippines head of public affairs Lisa Coory says it’s a very strong proposition. “The consumer base is very strong,” she continues. “The Philippines is very strong in terms of its mobile use.” 

Lisa Coory, Citi Philippines head of public affairs

It is no wonder Grab should choose the Philippines as the first market in Southeast Asia to launch the Citi Grab co-brand credit card.

“Grab is present in 336 cities in eight countries in Southeast Asia,” notes Ooi. “One in four Southeast Asians use Grab. Grab is in one out of two smartphones in the Philippines.”

It is these “mobile-first and always-on” consumers who continuously seek better offers who stand to enjoy  the exclusive benefits and rewards from the Citi Grab credit card.

Citi Grab cardholders will earn 10 times the points on all Grab spends, from getting a ride to getting deliveries. They will earn three times the points on dining, entertainment and online subscriptions, while all other spends will earn one point for every P30 spent.

They will be given a Platinum Tier upgrade for the first six months, giving cardholders priority booking benefits and dedicated customer support. They can enjoy 12 free Grab rides upon sign-up equivalent to P2,500 worth of GrabPay credits upon spending the first P10,000 within 60 days of using the card. Cardholders can also get free Grab vouchers worth P2,000 when they use the card to top up their GrabPay wallet with at least P1,000. Membership fees for principal and supplementary cards are also waived for the first year.

“We are making sure that the customer experience remains very good,” Varma says. “We want the acquisition experience in terms of the application for the credit card to be as seamless and smooth as hailing a Grab ride. It is all digital. There are no paper forms to fill. End-to-end application will take only seven minutes.  You can do it even while taking your Grab ride. It’s mobile. It’s convenient. It’s the digital way of doing things.”

Grab Philippines president Brian Cu believes that the way moving forward is to harness the benefits of the digital economy: “As such,  Grab will always put prime importance to innovations in the spaces that it operates, be it transport, food delivery, parcel services, or payments. Partnering with the best companies in the region like Citi allows Grab — as an everyday super app — to offer more reliable, convenient, and rewarding services to its users.”



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