How can Grab increase e-wallet adoption in Indonesia?

Sandeep Parashar
NYC Design
Published in
8 min readNov 13, 2018



  • Grab has an eWallet (known as GrabPay). Customers can purchase virtual credits on the Grab app and use it as a payment method to pay for rides or other services. They can even send credit to other people who have Grab app installed on their phone.
  • Users can purchase/top-up credit through internet banking, purchasing physical scratch coupons from convenience stores (like iTunes card) or using a credit card.

Problem Statement

The adoption of GrabPay in Indonesia is poor.

  • Data shows that 75% of the customers are actively using cash, 20% of customers use credit cards and only a mere 5% of customers actively use the e-Wallet as the primary mode of payment.
  • The overall business goal is to increase the number of active GrabPay users in Indonesia.


No scope of assumptions!

After a thorough understanding of the design challenge. I didn’t find any scope of assumptions in this exercise.

Though given data itself represent that the current economy of Indonesia is highly dependent on cash and the adoption ratio of digital payments seems quite low. The question was WHY? and that is something I wanted to get answered through research and data.

Customers paying through:
Cash (75%), Credit Cards (20%), e-Wallet (5%)

Design Process

I am practising User-Centered Design framework/process for the past few years. This iterative design process I have developed by taking reference of IDEO’s & Stanford’s Design Thinking Process. It helps in identifying and validating most critical business & users objectives, that also ensures to keep users and business stakeholders involved throughout the process to validate the solution and avoid assumptions.

This 6 steps process has various methods to use at each stage. For this exercise, there was no scope of using all the steps and methods except few I have used it.

Take a look at my design process below:

User-Centered Design Process

Discover WHY?

As a first step, I started writing down those high level of things that I had in my mind to get more into the depth of WHY? and to identify the root cause of the problem.

As I earlier mentioned there is no scope of assumptions in this exercise, hence everything needs to be validated through research and data.

The list of questions I divided into 2 categories are the following:

Related to GrabPay:

These questions were to understand the current state of GrabPay in Indonesia.

  • When GrabPay is launched in Indonesia?
    To understand the existence in the market”
  • What is the total customer-base of GrabPay in Indonesia?
    To understand the reach to the customers”
  • What are those highly used services/features by customers using GrabPay?
    To understand the customers’ need, supply and pattern”
  • What are those top cities from customers use GrabPay?
    To understand the customers’ profile”
  • What is the ratio of Android / iPhone customers?
    To understand the customers’ preference and profile”
  • How many other popular eWallet players in Indonesia?
    To understand the competition”

Related to Indonesia:

These questions were to understand the adoption and growth of the internet and banking in Indonesia.

  • Total Population of Indonesia?
    To understand the volume”
  • How many phone internet users?
    To understand the potential ratio”
  • How many smartphone users?
    To understand the adoption ratio”
  • How many have bank accounts?
    To understand the volume and potential ratio”
  • How many have credit cards?
    To understand the potential and preference”

Insights From Research

Beautiful Jakarta City

The next step was to begin research on discovering WHY? and to get answers to the questions I had earlier defined.

I decided to go with the sequence of questions and explored around 40–50 websites e.g. “news media portals, Grab official website and press centre, banks official websites, PwC and KPMG financial reports & surveys, market & consumer behaviour research agencies portals etc.”

This entire planning, research activity and data collection took quite a good amount of time.

I am glad, with the help of these websites I could able to discover what I wanted to. Insights from the research are the following:

Disclaimer: Extracted data represents my research activity, there may be the possibility that it’s outdated or differ from the actual numbers due to collecting from various sources.

— Out of 265 millions of Indonesia’s population, 52% doesn’t have bank accounts and very low percentage of Debit cardholders.

— Banks in Indonesia often do not issue customers with a debit card with a 16-digit number that can be used for making digital payments.

— 45% customers rely on bank transfers and 55% make cash payments choosing COD as the preferred online payment mode.

— Payment through internet banking option requires users to enter multiple codes often using a physical secure code device. The user experience is poor and not mobile-friendly.

— 93.5% population doesn’t have access to credit cards.

— Low level of credit card adoption is due to strict rules around credit card issuance imposed by BI including stipulating that only customers with relatively high incomes are eligible for a credit card.

— 69% population doesn’t have mobile phone internet access and 74% population doesn’t have smartphones.

— Customers have various mobile digital payment options to make payments.

Consolidated Data:


Data represents that the adoption of eWallets in Indonesia is highly dependent on the various factors. Indonesia, like many developing countries, lacks established cashless payment methods and that’s a major hurdle to digital economy growth.

It’s not just credit cards, but the majority of the population doesn’t even have debit cards that can be a supporting factor to the digital payments.

Though, there is no doubt Indonesia is moving toward a cashless future as Indonesians are increasingly confident about using digital payment systems. Bank Indonesia and The Indonesian Govt. have launched a national campaign to support and promote the technology. Banks are also introducing a new program to promote cashless transactions.

Many people nowadays, especially the young generation can easily make payments using mobile wallets and QR codes. These new experiences aren’t an everyday life for everyone yet, but they are beginning to scale.

“Visa Says Indonesia is Ready for Cashless Society as 76% of Indonesians are More Confident Living without Cash for 24 Hours”


Based on the research and data there are following approaches can be taken to increase the adoption of GrabPay.

Outside the App:

— There is a true opportunity for building credit and risk profiles for individuals to increase credit card owners.

— Collaboration with local shops and merchants to promote GrabPay’s quick and secure payment experience to their customers.

— Attract new users by offering discounts at local shops and shopping centres by making payments using GrabPay instead of Cash.

— Offer GrabPay credit rewards on inviting family and friends to promote Pay and Request features.

Inside the App:

Multi-language support for localities and tourists.

— Quick and easy user on-boarding flow to avoid friction.

— Promote Security and Privacy.

— Promote 1 app for all the services.

— Onboarding credit bonus to take 1st drive Free or such offers to create viral.

— Boost conversions using social proof psychology.

— User on-boarding features explainer ‘annotations’ to avoid friction and drop off.

— Invite family & friends members through importing phonebook to earn GrabPay credits.

— Chat feature with friends and family can rapidly increase the retention of the GrabPay.

App Usability Analysis

The best method of doing usability analysis through user testing. But due to not having the application flow/screens, I couldn’t make it possible. So I thought let’s review the available app screens and share my thoughts.

1. Homescreen:

2. Balance / Wallet Screen:

3. Paying through QR Code / Success Payment / Grab Car Booking Screens:

Not reviewing these screens due to the time limitations.


Job Stories:

Before moving ahead to the initial paper concept I generally use job story framework to uncover the jobs to be done by the users. This is a powerful way to facilitate team conversation and discovery during the design thinking process. This framework is originally developed by Alan Klement and meant to focus on the context, causality and motivations. I am skipping this step for now since this mostly requires a team effort.

Initial Paper Concept:

  • It’s a quick onboarding flow.
  • Social proof example on the splash screen “45 Million are using GrabPay” can also be used on the on-boarding carousals e.g. “1 Million people booked a ride today”
  • Language option on the Signup screen.

Low-fidelity Wireframes:

Thoughts Behind the Concept:

1st and 2nd (Home Screen):

  • Hamburger menu icon merged with the user image indicating to the navigation drawer.
  • Slide to Pay / Request money playful interaction will promote users to use the service and will be a USP of the GrabPay wallet.
  • GrabPay wallet balance and the top-up option have been merged and added to the header to be consistent through the application.
  • All options relevant to the ride service have been grouped into the Book a Ride category to make a quick and easy choice.
  • Order Food / Groceries category has created for grouping order online food and groceries service.

3rd, 4th and 5th (Pay, Top Up Screen and Payment Options):

  • Wallet Balance is consistent in the header, which plays an important role during/before initiating the payment.
  • Pay through mobile number option has put upfront to avoid an additional click and to make an easy choice between both the options.
  • Recent payments log has added in the pay screen to easily make repeat payment.
  • GrabPay wallet Top-up option/layer is easily available from the header through the application.
  • The payment options screen has individual options to make a quick choice and provide relevant data to proceed with the payment gateway.
  • Individual payment options ordering can be auto-arranged based on the most frequent choices.

Note: This is just a concept prototype doesn’t represent to the actual design.

Thank you for reading :-)

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