Uber Eyes Use of Mobile Money Service in Africa
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
After launching its service in seven African cities and hitting a few hitches, especially in Kenya, Uber is exploring the use of mobile money services.
The service has been launched in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Pretoria in South Africa; Lagos in Nigeria; Cairo; and Nairobi, Kenya. Uber offers a cashless service, mainly targeting credit card holders, but the low penetration rates of cardholders outside South Africa has affected uptake.
In Kenya, most of the transactions are in cash or through mobile money services, commonly via the M-Pesa system. When Uber launched last week, online users voiced dissatisfaction with the inability to use M-Pesa. Kenya’s public transport system has a cashless system that uses M-Pesa.
“We can confirm that we are exploring the possibility of integrating the M-Pesa service in our system, but we don’t yet have expected time when this is likely to roll out,” said Alastair Curtis, a manager of international launches for Uber.
In most African cities, the transport system is not well regulated, and taxi drivers have been involved in criminal activities, but Uber says it provides the safest, most affordable and reliable rides.
“Uber is the ’gold standard’ when it comes to consumer safety and this is all because of the technological innovation in the app,” Curtis said.