Uber Technologies Inc. will allow passengers to make cash payments for journeys in South African cities to make the ride-hailing service more accessible to those without debit or credit cards.
The company doesn’t believe the development will significantly increase the security risk for Uber’s 4,000 drivers in South Africa as the smartphones required to pick up customers are also valuable, Alon Lits, general manager of sub-Saharan Africa, said in an interview on Friday.
Uber has agreed to a partnership with FNB, FirstRand Ltd.’s retail bank, that allows drivers to regularly deposit cash fares and avoid carrying large sums.
“I realize there is a security concern, but we have also tried this in places such as Nigeria where there are similar concerns,” Lits said.
“There will be an emergency number available for drivers in case of any incidents. We are also working on the possibility of a panic button.”
Uber offers cash payments in several other cities, including Singapore, Lagos and Manchester, Lits said.
The company is considering expanding the South African service to Bloemfontein, adding to Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria and Port Elizabeth, and plans to increase the number of drivers to 15,000.