In the wake of COVID-19 and South Africa’s national lockdown, Uber has been looking for ways to innovate and assist citizens trying to maintain some state of social distancing and limit the chances of spreading the virus. The company’s latest initiative in that regard is the launch of Uber Cash.

This is not be confused with Uber Money, which offered users the ability to pay for rides with physical paper money. Instead Uber Cash embraces contactless payments and allows its users to load money onto their profile via EFT, with those funds being used to pay for rides and deliveries.

The company explains that it works in a very similar way to topping up airtime or data, but crucially the funds in this solution are not tied to a fix time, and therefore will not expire.

Uber Cash launched in Sub-Saharan Africa this week, as per a story by TechCrunch, but we’ve already seen it appear locally in-app. As such it should only be a few days for the feature to become available in your app, if it is not there already.

“While existing payment options will still be available including cash (for rides only), debit card and gift cards, this new feature offers a seamless way to make and further control payment on both Uber and Uber Eats,” explained Uber in a press release sent to Hypertext.

“This method creates a payment account dedicated to both apps that can be preloaded with any amount, to be used on upcoming trips and orders. The account can be topped-up via the users Ride account and used as and when needed on both Uber and Uber Eats apps, allowing the user to control the amount spent on the specific app, further helping them control their budget,” it adds.

As far as using Uber Cash goes, the steps are as follows:

  1. Open your Uber app
  2. Go to Payments in your app menu to add funds to your Uber Cash balance
  3. Select the amount you want to top up and your preferred payment method
  4. Before requesting a ride or placing an order, change your payment method to Uber Cash
  5. Choose a destination/ add items to basket
  6. Request a ride/ or place an order via Uber Eats.

“Uber Cash is another way to create a seamless experience for all our users. This new option introduces a method of payment that is easily controllable, convenient and reliable,” adds Alon Lits, director of Uber in Sub-Saharan Africa.

With a greater need for contactless payments moving forward, we’re sure many South Africans will be making use of this new feature this year and next.