As South Africa continues with its alert level approach to lockdown in the COVID-19 era, more services and solutions are turning to contactless or cashless means in order to operate. The same goes for ridesharing, but for many unbanked citizens, this is not possible, which is why local app Afri Ride has announced some updates to its platform.

These are slated to take place from 1st July onwards, and in particular offer the ridesharing application greater options for unbanked South Africans.

To that end Afri Ride will be introducing a new element to its Wallet feature, as managing director, Joe Moyo explains.

“We integrated the Afri Wallet primarily to empower our users. In technology, you have a serious domino effect: one thing leads to the other; to the other; then another. In this case we came to the realization that besides having a wallet for drivers that passengers can pay into when paying for their rides, there are some people who would also want to pay from their wallet instead of directly from their bank account for services,” he points out.

“Users who receive multiple payments from ridesharing can choose to leave those funds in the wallet and withdraw the accumulated balance at a later stage. These dynamics proved to us that the users should have more autonomy over their money as well as modern added value services. Features such as peer-to-peer money sending, prepaid purchases (airtime), and a professional pdf statement of transaction was integrated to make transacting for the unbanked demographic simple,” Moyo continues.

Along with adding the new functionality to the Wallet, Afri Ride has also looked to offer a secure payment gateway to users thanks to a One Time Pin (OTP).

“We have imposed daily and monthly transaction limits in order to prevent system abuse and criminal activities such as money laundering,” he says.

The Wallet is not the only element to see a change, with Afri Ride’s Mbiri Chat seeing some improvements too. Here end-to-end encryption has been added, with in-chat money transfers available alongside a dark mode.

Looking further down the line, Afri Ride is also working on expanding its services to food delivery and restaurant bookings as well.

While COVID-19 and lockdown has caused some companies to hold back, Afri Ride appears to be innovating.

“When talking about our users or potential users, we are also looking at a sizeable number of people that are unbanked and essentially excluded from the formal economic system. With the Afri Wallet we’ve opened up a platform where users own a soft personalised digital wallet that they can performing transactions with,” Moyo concludes.

If you’re interested in Afri Ride, it is available for download on the Google Play and Apple App stores.

[Image – Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash]