The company cited a 45 per cent user increase in other cities as well as the fact that 30 per cent of transactions in Singapore are in cash
Uber announced today it has brought its cash payment system to Singapore, calling it “the first developed city in the world to experiment with cash payments”.
The company’s system was initially implemented to lower a barrier-to-entry in cash-first countries. While Singapore can be called the only card-first city on the list, it joins various urban centres across Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, India and Malaysia in accepting cash payments.
The goal of cash payments is to on-board new customers and boost driver numbers. In its announcement the company explicitly said it hopes more people using cash will mean more riders, which then leads to more rides, more money, and a higher incentive for non-drivers to jump on board.
To back up the decision, Uber cited a blog by WireCard that claimed 30 per cent of all transactions in Singapore are completed using cash. Furthermore, using its own internal data, the company saw a 45 per cent Uber adoption boost when other cities on-boarded cash payments.
The company blog also stated the move may help increase adoption outside of the main city centres. For example, in Singapore, those who work in Central Business District will be used to using their credit cards on a daily basis, but if someone spends most of their day around Bukit Batok they probably use cash more often.
So, in this example, the idea is to make the service more attractive to the Bukit Batok residents.
The system is straightforward. Simply open the app, go to ‘payments’, choose ‘cash’ and the app will tabulate the fare for your ride. After the ride, pay the driver (rounded to the nearest 10 cents) and enjoy the rest of the day.
Uber did point out cash payments are an open-ended experiment and not every user will see the update immediately.
Singapore is the Uber regional hub for Southeast Asia and it was also the first city in Asia to launch the low-cost uberX service.
Photos courtesy of Uber.
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