Simplepay, a web a mobile financial services company that allows users and merchants maintain electronic wallets is working with Uber Lagos to integrate their payments technology into the e-hailing service. The integration would grant Simplepay users the ability to pay for Uber rides without resorting to their debit cards.
If it works out, both companies stand to benefit. Simplepay, which works like PayPal, just in Nigeria, needs to acquire merchants in order to convince users of its utility, and vice versa. Uber on the other hand is interested in working with local payments technologies in the emerging markets where they’ve launched where the local banking systems and debit cards don’t always jibe with global payments processors.
Update: In fact, Uber has just completed a similar payment integration with the Paytm electronic wallet in India, thus making their service accessible to millions of people who hitherto would not be able to use it.
Both Uber and Simplepay are relatively new platforms (to the Nigerian market) that need to acquire users and scale quickly. The reciprocal value add from supporting each other could have vortex effects that could suck in even more users.
Alastair Curtis, International Launcher at Uber and currently in charge of the Lagos operation says the integration might not happen like the day after tomorrow, but it is an objective they are definitely working towards. Simplepay CEO, Simeon Ononobi is however pretty gung-ho about the idea and expects that the integration will be achieved by before the end of Q1 of 2015.
In the meantime, both companies are greasing the wheels with a promotion in which new Simplepay users will get two free rides on the Uber service with a special promo code they will receive upon signup.
Good on Simplepay and Uber. But I would also really like to see Simplepay enter these relationships with other e-hailing services like Taxipixi and Easy Taxi whom due to electronic payments constraints, are still cash only.