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Uber begins testing cash payments for rides

Firing a shot across Ola’s bows, Uber looks set to consolidate in India

Marking a shift in the way it does business globally, the taxi app Uber has announced that it will begin testing cash payments in Hyderabad. In a blog, the company said that the move was an experimental measure, tailored for a part of the world that prefers to pay for services in cash. It has also said that “no haggling” will be needed with drivers, for cash payments.

Until now, Uber has relied on a credit card based payment system – in India, after initial hiccups with the RBI-mandated two-step credit card authentication norms, it tied up with Paytm to create a mobile wallet, which users have to keep topping up. The cash experiment will be tried only in Hyderabad, and will be rolled out in the coming week, with rides being restricted to within city limits. Users will have to choose cash payment before booking a ride, and no minimum balance will be required in their Paytm account – however, a valid Uber account will be mandatory, which in turn will mean that either a credit card or a digital wallet will have to on record. There is no indication yet if this experiment will be extended to the rest of the country, but given that principal rival Ola has accepted cash from day one, it seems like a logical move to make.