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Uber steers towards M-Pesa integration

Uber steers towards M-Pesa integration

Technology company Uber will explore the possibility of integrating the M-Pesa mobile payment service into its smartphone app service. However, the Company cannot disclose when this is likely to happen.

Uber is the international smartphone app that 'seamlessly' connects commuters to drivers. Mobile money service M-Pesa has reportedly garnered 19 million users and is used to channel 43% of Kenya's GDP annually.

On 21 January Nairobi became the sixth African city to launch Uber service. However, regional media reports spoke of dissatisfaction among online users because of not being able to use M-Pesa.

A spokesperson from Uber told ITWeb Africa that the company is looking at integrating the mobile payment service into its system in Kenya, but added that "... we don't have an ETA just yet on when this is likely to roll out."

Prior to any potential launch the Company considers factors like smartphone penetration, network quality and supply of vehicles that will fit the Uber brand.

"It made sense to launch in Nairobi given its population (3, 138 million+) and size (696.6km2). Further Kenyans are progressive and tech savvy and in particular love products that are cool and offer a new experience, and Uber is doing just that," the spokesperson added.

According to Uber the system, currently, is based on a fare for a trip being charged automatically and electronically into a debit or credit card.

There is no indication of whether or not Uber will link up with additional mobile payment platforms from other regions in which it operates.

In a statement the company said, "Uber was founded with the goal of ensuring safe riders for everyone whenever, wherever. Our commitment to riders begins with connecting them to the safest rides on the road and extents to being the most reliable transportation option available, and we will continue to build on this. We are always exploring new ways we can optimise our offer, while maintaining the highest level of safety, quality and reliability across various cities in Africa."

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