A little more than a month after Uber added autorickshaws to its app in India, it is experimenting with accepting cash payments in Hyderabad.
This is significant because ever since it launched in San Francisco in 2009, Uber has consciously chosen to be a credit and debit card-only serivice to provide a frictionless user experience. It does not accept cash payments in any of the 300+ cities around the world that it operates in.
Choosing to launch the feature in Hyderabad is Uber adapting to market realities in India where cash transactions significantly outnumber credit and debit card transactions.
"Tradition dictates that cash plays a big role for Indian customers," said Uber's Hyderabad GM Siddharth Shanker. "We chose to run this experiment in Hyderabad because we have a sophisticated and engaged rider base in the city."
Users using the Uber app in Hyderabad will see a CASH option in the Payment section in the top left corner. They'll need to select this before they request a ride. Cash payments will need to be made in full and cannot be combined with balance in the PayTM account linked to Uber.
Shanker says that Uber is hoping to gain some key insights from this experiment: which segment of the population uses cash, for instance, and when they use it. "We are taking a scientific, data-driven approach to this," he says.
The new cash payment option puts Uber's features at par with market leader Ola Cabs, which currently operates in over 40 Indians cities and towns versus Uber's 11.