Hoping to expand its market, Uber South Africa now accepts cash

Your Uber has arrived.
Your Uber has arrived.
Image: Reuters/Sergio Perez
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On Thursday (May 26), Uber will begin accepting cash payments for rides in South Africa. The ride-hailing app is adding a cash option to five cities in the country: Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.

Although South Africa has a relatively high number of credit card users, and the highest level of formal banking in sub-Saharan Africa, 65% of transactions are still made in cash. Uber hopes the new payment option will attract new riders, particularly those who might have been concerned about credit-card fraud.

The cash experiment will “give Uber insight into how riders and driver-partners adopt and use a mix of cash and electronic payments,” the company said in a statement.

Cash is already an option in Uber’s other Africa markets, Nigeria and Kenya, as well as in India, Uber’s largest market outside the US.

Uber’s announcement comes amid tension between the company and its competitors in South Africa. Last week, metered cab drivers in Johannesburg  threw rocks at Uber cars, injuring a driver and three police officers. The cab drivers could be heard shouting that the violence would not stop until Uber “shuts down.”