Taxify gets edge over Uber by introducing M-Pesa payments

Online taxi hailing firm Taxify has included M-Pesa mobile payment gateway on its payment platform.

The M-Pesa integration gives it an edge over market leaders Uber who haven’t included M-Pesa as an option on its platform.

Uber was primarily cashless platform before it ventured into developing world. The firm was forced to adapt to the market changes and introduce cash payments when it ventured into Kenya and India.

Uber now accepts both cash and credit card payments.

Competition in the local taxi-hailing market is heating up as firms fight for both drivers and customers. This makes mobile money a key plank and a strategy in cash-lite economies like Kenya.

Taxify says that M-Pesa is only available to customers using the app via iPhones. Though, plans are underway to roll the service to Android phone users.

Alex Mwaura, Taxify’s country manager says that the company is always on the lookout for new ways to enhance customer’s experience through new innovative options.

Taxify, originally from Estonia now has a presence in over 20 geographies across the globe with Kenya being one of its key markets. The firm said in a statement that adapting to new markets and understanding the local landscape is part of its efforts to redefine its relevance to customers.

Data from the Communication Authority of Kenya shows that Safaricom’s M-Pesa has 19 million registered users in Kenya. Since its launch in Kenya in 2007, M-Pesa has transformed the country’s cashless system, disrupting banking and cash transfer. Many Kenyans now consider it as a safe and convenient way of transacting money. The Authority further shows that by June 2017 close to Kshs 700 billion has been transacted through the platform making it a key driver of the country’s financial economy.

Taxify is not the only taxi-hailing firm that has incorporated M-Pesa in its platform. Little, firm owned by Craft Silicon and backed by Safaricom was the first in the market to integrate M-Pesa into its platforms.

Little through its statement to the media said that users have an option of loading money through M-Pesa to the app’s ‘Little Wallet’. They can then use the funds from the wallet for later payment for rides. They can even pay for their friends or families through the wallet. M-Pesa is also integrated into the driver’s Little application.

Uber through a statement said that it hasn’t ignored M-Pesa integration. However, it is looking for a payment solution that would complement cash payments across the market where it has a presence.

Cashless mode of payment is safer. In fact, customers want to pay through mobile money platform. Just like any other services where they are accustomed to paying through mobile money, they want to do so free of any hassle.

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