Next week Uber, the innovative smartphone app that seamlessly connects riders to drivers, will launch a cash payment experiment in South Africa. On Thursday 26 May 2016, South Africa becomes the first country in Uber’s global network to experiment with cash payments, launching the option across five cities simultaneously.
“We’re always looking at how we can make it easier for people to benefit from the convenient, safe and affordable option of taking an Uber,” says Alon Lits, General Manager for Uber Sub-Saharan Africa. “This experiment will help us understand whether riders and driver-partners welcome the choice of paying by cash or card. As before, all trip details are electronically recorded and riders will always be able to pay by debit or credit card if they prefer.
“Offering cash as an alternate option has proven to be very successful for Uber. The introduction of cash in Singapore for example, had an extremely positive response and this is a country that has a substantial credit card penetration and very high GDP per capita.”
Even though credit cards are common many are surprised to learn that cash payments currently make up 65% of all transactions in South Africa1. By introducing this experiment, Uber says it discovered three simple ways that cash could make it a little easier for everyone who needs a ride in South Africa.
1. Removing the fear factor for first time riders
Many people still have concerns about credit cards. Every South African should have the freedom to choose the way they travel and cash is a truly inclusive way to let everyone move around their city reliably and affordably.
2. No credit card? No worries.
Cash opens doors for more South Africans to take their first ride, and have a quality experience with Uber, whether they are a busy Mom, a university student without a credit card or a senior citizen who’s more comfortable using cash.
3. More riders means more trips for drivers
When more riders choose Uber and there is a higher demand for trips, driver-partners will spend more of every hour moving people, less time waiting around and so get more money.
Uber says South Africa was selected for this experiment because it provides Uber with the right environment to experiment a cash payment option amongst a sizeable and sophisticated rider and driver-partner community. Cash is a dominant payment method in Africa and this experiment will give Uber insight into how riders and driver-partners adopt and use a mix of cash and electronic payments, how consumer behaviour changes and what Uber can do to build a better product and provide a better experience.
The lesson learnt here in South Africa (and across Africa) could have implications for the business across the world. Uber is imagining, innovating and developing smart solutions in Africa which could to be implemented globally.
“The interest in South Africa has been amazing, and we are excited to experiment with cash payments on the Uber platform,” said Lits. “Riders in South Africa already have access to reliable, convenient and safe transportation and this cash experiment opens up the Uber platform to even more people.”
Cash is an open-ended experiment, so not all riders will see this additional payment option right away. Uber days riders and driver-partners are encouraged to share their feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #uberCASH