Uber Finally Launches Cash & Safaricom’s M-Pesa Payments In Kenya
Its been a long time coming but Uber earlier this evening at their official Nairobi launch party announced that it will now be possible for their customers to use both cash and Safaricom’s M-Pesa to make payments for rides in Kenya. The cash and M-Pesa payments are being trialled in Kenya for the very first time and will be available from 9.o0 am tomorrow (Friday the 5th June 2015) morning. This is NOT the first time Uber has offered alternative payment methods since they do the same in India where one can also pay with cash.
I have written extensively about Uber in Kenya on this blog since they started offering their services here earlier this year. One of my findings is that the service has been a hit largely with Expatriates as well as formerly Diaspora Kenyans who are familiar with the service from other markets. The reason for this has been that hitherto one had to use a credit or debit card to pay for their Uber rides which acted as a major deterrent to mainstream Kenyan uptake.
Another caveat to using local credit or debit cards on Uber is that I have experienced a scenario where Uber rejected my card since local banks can erratically block their payments. This is not a unique case and many other customers have complained of the same happening to them. The experience of calling a taxi à la ‘old school’ after Uber stopped working was cumbersome, retrogressive and frustrating for me! Uber really does change your life!
Incidentally, Uber competitors like Rocket Internet’s and Africa Internet Group’s Easy Taxi have been offering cash and mobile money payments since they launched in Kenya last year so what Uber just did is not remarkably unique by any means. All that Uber has done is taken cognizance of the market they are in and have adapted their offering accordingly as they should have done from the very start. I suspect that this one move will see their service grow exponentially from tomorrow (Friday) morning at 9.00 am.
Below are some photos from this evening’s Uber Nairobi Launch party at the Dusit D2: