Uber just launched its cash payment system in Singapore, in a move that aims to expand the user base of the cab hailing company.
Warren Tseng, the recently-appointed Singapore general manager, notes that Uber wants to encourage its users to utilize cash for payment, even in "developed" markets such as the Asian island city-state.
Customers from Singapore widely use credit cards for their everyday payments. A global report from MasterCard indicates that about 69 percent of consumer goods are purchased without cash in the country.
However, Uber aims to tap into the spending habits of those who prefer to use cash in their transactions.
The company thinks that by eliminating the need for a credit card, it can attract more first-time riders to the app. For example, students who do not yet own a credit card or seniors who are reluctant to offer their credit card info to strangers could find value in Uber Cash.
Most clients who prefer paying via credit card come from the urban, traditionally wealthy regions of cities. Market research from developing countries showed that Uber Cash can help the company engage those who live a bit further from the inner city.
According to Warren, adoption rate can get a boost of 45 percent by including cash as an accepted payment method.
Uber is testing the waters and could see its app installed on many handsets, even in places where cash payments are less popular. The company is determined to maintain a high quality of service, regardless if it operates downtown or in the suburbs.
Users will start seeing the cash payment option soon, and availability will extend to UberX and Uber Black options.
A number of global markets already have access to the cash payment method. In places such as Bali, Bandung and Surabaya in Indonesia, Manila in the Philippines, Bangkok in Thailand and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, users already use cash to pay for Uber rides.
The cash payment option landed outside of Asia, as well. Car-pooling users from Lima, Cairo and Riyadh can pay for their ride with cash upfront instead of using credit cards.
The changes in Uber's policies come after the company went through a major worldwide restructuring. The company will continue to adapt and fit proper services to each distinct market, with Singapore remaining a core area that the ride-sharing enterprise operates in.
This new cash payments option in Singapore is a first for Uber riders in a developed market, but the scheme could extend to other major cities in the future.
Regardless of the payment method, some might be wary of using car-sharing services, as some reports suggest that sexual assaults are not uncommon.