TechCabal is reliably informed that testing for cash payments for Uber users in Lagos will commence soon. Currently, it is only possible to make payment for Uber trips via debit card. However, a small group of riders in Lagos will be be shown the option, in-app, to pay in cash. If they select it, the driver will be notified once the trip commences, and reminded as soon as it ends, to collect the payment from the rider.
Uber, since its inception, has been traditionally cashless, which makes the transaction frictionless for all the parties concerned. One commonly touted value proposition of the service is that you can use it even if you leave your wallet at home. But not all the countries where Uber operates from are developed to the point that cash can be ignored. As of today, Uber has enabled cash payments in six countries.
In May 2015, Hyderabad in India, was the first test bed for Uber cash payments. Today, all 22 Indian cities in which Uber operates have the cash payment enabled. In July 2015, Uber Nairobi turned on cash payments, leading to a 3x increase in growth for that city.
The Lagos cash payment test will likely make Nigeria the seventh country that supports Uber cash payments. Whether it will be received as enthusiastically as it has been in previous test zones remains to be seen. But it certainly certainly open the Uber Lagos operation up to users who aren’t comfortable with card transactions, or have issues making payments with their debit cards.
In fact, this development couldn’t have come at a better time, when Lagos riders are furious with the service for apparent discrepancies between Uber receipts and the actual amounts debited from their bank accounts. Nigeria’s current foreign exchange morass, and questionable bank behaviour might be to blame, but users are laying it all at Uber’s doorstep. Letting users pay for their rides in cash instead of with their debit cards, completely circumvents the foreign exchange problem, while providing additional value to the end user. Great save?