Uber Nairobi has today launched a cash test pilot in Nairobi Kenya in a ramped-up customer acquisition move as competition gets better at listening to consumer demands.
This move makes Nairobi the first city in Africa the firm is launching cash payments after it began tests in May in Hyderabad in India.
Jambu Palaniappan, Regional General Manager for Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa said: “Paying with cash is really important for people in Kenya so this is an exciting experiment for us. We want everyone to enjoy the hassle-free convenience of ordering a safe ride at the push of a button. This cash expermient in Nairobi will give us some great insights and help us develop our technology to best meet the needs of the local consumers.”
According to Palaniappan, the interest in Uber in Nairobi has been amazing and the firm is excited t experiment with cash payments on the Uber platform. Uber in Nairobi was missing out on the growing demand for quick and easy to pay taxi services with no strings attached as most Kenyans have no payment cards and those that have rather use them for purchases at the till than in a taxi.
Uber is not working with M-PESA and Airtel Money at the moment. It has not designated any PayBill numbers. The integration with mobile money is something the firm has been talking about for long but due to beuracracy this innovation might take long. Meanwhile users can pay the DRIVER via Mobile Money or cash and not directly to Uber Nairobi. There’s no seamless integration for now and our guys are out testing the new service with a better review.
As we said above, at the moment, users will access ak the current featues plus the cash option which is still new. Riders need only to choose the CASH option, take a ride and pay the driver directly at the end of the trip. Uber knows how much the driver charges and it also knows its cap on the taxi fare.
This move by Uber will help it rake in a number of local populations who looked earlier shunned the service as a service for expats who had credit and debit cards and didn’t have relationships with their taxi guys. Though Uber is highly used among the Nairobi tech community where it’s based, it’s looking at ways to get deep into the commuity by launching services such as Uber for Business to target corporate firms as well as getting out and partnering with non-tech events.
One thing that has been an obstacle to Uber’s growth in Nairobi was most users in Nairobi couldn’t sign up and register to the app with their bank cards. This sign up with cash will however solve this menace. The firm has said it has been talking to banks to allow their Mastercard/ Visa issued cards to accept online payments as most of them are blocked due to user safety.