Business in Tech

Uber Has Its Own Payment Card In Mexico. Such An Initiative Could Boost The Number Of Bank Acct Holders In Africa

Uber is the biggest ride hailing service in the world and it has managed to achieve this because of ease of payment and affordability of rides. So it doesn’t matter if you have money on your or not, for each ride you take, you are automatically debited (PayPal or bank card). But what happens when these options are not readily available?

Well in Mexico, Uber has come up with its own debit card. Uber actually partnered with Bankaool which is the card issuer. Bankaool is Mexico’s first online bank and it’s simple to use. All you have to do is top up MXN$200/$10 USD/4,600 Naira and then you expect the card in five to ten working days. To encourage people to use the card, Uber is giving those who link the card to their accounts a first free ride and it gets interesting because the card is actually issued by MasterCard which means the card is not just an UberCard but can be used in other places. The card can be bought in local stores.

Being Uber’s biggest market in Latin America, it is expected that such initiatives take root in order to encourage more people use the Uber app.

In Nigeria and some other African nations, you are allowed to pay in cash in addition to other methods of payment but maybe this could be an added one because Nigeria still has a growing banking population compared to other developed counterparts. Only about 57 percent of Nigerians have bank accounts while about 2 percent of the population control nearly 90 percent of the entire deposit in the banks. That said, it is estimated that about 80 percent of Africans don’t have access to bank accounts with the top reasons being;

  • Banks being too far away from majority of the population especially in the rural areas
  • Less people have access to jobs and so don’t have savings and that means less people needing bank accounts
  • Some don’t just trust the banking system
  • Lack of adequate information about the banking process
  • Many people don’t even have an ID and that’s a basic requirement when opening a bank account.

Initiatives like the UberCard in Mexico could go a long way for Uber which is gradually penetrating the African society and killing local competition. Linking this kind of card with local banks has the potential of increasing the number of bank account holders on the continent. The market is big and has some promising tech numbers like smartphone penetration which is set to hit 350 million by 2017. Over 50 percent of intent users on the continent now do some on mobile and broadband penetration in nations like Nigeria is set to hit 30 percent by 2018 with a tele-density of over 100 percent.