Uber may be mulling over launching its own digital wallet to support payments in India. An ET report quoted Eric Alexander, head of business, Uber Asia regarding the same. Uber currently accepts digital payment through PayTm wallet in addition to cash payments.
Alexander, however, agreed on benefits of working with local companies to make its service available to many customers. Talking about their partnership with PayTm, Eric Alexander said,
From my perspective, I… like to have local partnerships to make the service available to our customers, we are happy to continue with that. I am not going to say that (dropping the idea of having own wallet). We always got our options open.
And while he was talking about payments, the much widely debated issue of surge pricing also came up. Alexander firmly stood on the company’s policy on surge pricing and said,
It is not something that we at Uber control. It is purely a market-based algorithm. Surge is not something that we want use to make extra money. It is a technology solution to allow riders that they are willing to pay the price at that point of time to get a car.
He further added that Uber could expand its operations to over 50 cities in the current year from present 27 cities.
Uber generally accepts payments through credit cards all over the world. However, it ran into RBI rules and regulations when it tried to implement this approach in India. RBI rules make it mandatory to have two-factor authentication before completing payments through credit or debit cards.
However, a senior Uber official had recently revealed that the company found this rule cumbersome for riders while making payments. So, the company was evaluating options to have its own payment wallet.
For now, the company accepts cashless payments through PayTm wallet and Airtel digital money. A few months ago, certain reports have also suggested that Uber was planning to launch its own digital wallet.
But even if Uber does come with its own wallet, it is highly unlikely that it would completely ditch PayTm from its platform.
This is because PayTm currently boasts of the highest number of users on its platform compared to other digital wallets. And it does not make much sense to let go of a ready-made user base all of a sudden.
Uber’s rival in India, Ola already has its own digital wallet called Ola Money. The company launched Ola Money in November last year.
However, Ola Money is not limited to only paying for Ola rides. People can also use it to recharge mobile, send money to contacts, and for payments to other merchants such as OYO Rooms, Saavn, Lenskart, Zo Rooms, TinyOwl etc.
It remains to be seen if Uber too would enable its own wallet to other services. And that is of course if it does come out with its own wallet.