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Uber has recently introduced cash payment system in Kuala Lumpur following their experiments in Johor Bahru, Penang and Ipoh. But wait, isn’t Uber’s biggest selling point their seamless payment system? There’s no hassle for both the driver and passenger to prepare change/small money, you don’t have to worry about not having enough money to pay for the fare… And despite all that, Uber still rolled out the cash payment option? We analyse the pros and cons of this new payment system in KL.

The Yays:

1. Flexibility 

Image Credit: Uber
Image Credit: Uber

Choice is a beautiful thing and Uber knows consumers like to have the flexibility to choose their ideal payment method. Some passengers favour the convenience of mobile transactions while some are not too comfortable with cashless transaction. The introduction of the cash payment system can therefore eliminate the fear factor among first time users.

“People tend to be skeptical towards online transaction and there is always the fear of being charged extra,” said Kee, an accountant who has never used Uber. But with the cash payment method, he is now more open towards the idea of Uber and “will consider to give it a go”. Seasoned Uber passenger, Sharon on the other hand felt more empowered having the ability to pick between the two payment methods.

2. More Customers


Allowing passengers to ride without credit card potentially opens up to a whole new demographics. Uncle Tan, a retiree who is also a part-time Uber driver is “excited to meet new people and hear their stories”.  He added that he is “looking forward to drive students and learn more about youth culture”.

According to Uber Asia Pacific director of communications Amy Kunrojpanya, Uber has seen exponential growth in sign-ups in cities where it accepts cash. Previous experiments in other Uber cities has shown an increase adoption rate of new passengers outside of core service areas by an average 45 per cent. And with more customers, that brings us to the next advantage below.

3. More Uber Drivers, More Destinations, Less Waiting Time


Uber is a great way to earn some side income during your free time while being your own boss. With the cash payment system, drivers will be able to obtain cash directly and need not to wait for another week to receive their payment. With more Uber converts, there will be more Uber drivers. And with more Uber drivers, passengers will be able to reach out further destinations, with shorter waiting times as well.

The Nays:

1. Doubts, Uncertainties, And The Issue Of Security

The cash payment method may lure more people to be an Uber driver but there are people too who have their doubts on the system. If its a cash transaction, what happens to the 20% commission that Uber takes from each ride? Similarly, what if a passenger cancels a ride request in the last minute or what if the passenger refuses to pay for the fare?

On top of that, the cost of the ride is a concern among Uber users. As the passenger will only know the fare cost at the end of the journey, “What if I don’t have enough change or cash to pay for my ride?”, said Sharon who prefers Uber’s seamless credit card transaction.

Also, by paying in cash, there is no proper “black and white” to prove that a certain rider has paid the required amount, or that the rider has received it. Going cashless ensures that the fare amount that’s been exchanged between the rider and driver will be reflected in the rider’s credit card statement. By paying in cash, however, although Uber issues a digital receipt in the app, there is no proof to show that the fare has been paid/received.

2. More “Taxi Drivers vs Uber” Drama

Image Credit: paultan.org
Image Credit: paultan.org

Remember how was it like when over 200 taxi drivers occupied the roads of Bukit Bintang? They drove at their own pace, stopped their vehicles whenever they wanted, causing major traffic halt across KL’s two lanes of the three-lane roads. Do we really want more of that?

3. Less Authenticity And Genuineness

Drivers often appreciate the fact that although they work for a ride-sharing company, they don’t necessarily feel like a taxi driver. In fact, they value authenticity and friendliness in their work. Thus the cash payment system tends to devalue that because it reminds them that they are only but drivers trying to make a buck off riders, instead of another fellow human helping someone else by offering a means of transportation.

According to Uber driver Aidan Chin, he said, “For me, I always treat riders like my friends because I never care about how much I make from each of them but to treat everyone with the same degree of friendliness and compassion. But this major change constantly reminds me I am a driver who works for your money in a conscious way and that tend to make one to be less genuine and more artificial.”

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