After boosting security to accommodate Indian government demands, Uber is again going to be accepting payment cards for its services in India. It will accept payment cards starting this week, following a nine-month suspension.
Uber's new process, to comply with guidelines from the Reserve Bank of India, will involve two-factor authentication, where a one-time password will be texted to a user's mobile device, along with entering the card's CVV, according to a report in The Economic Times. Another change is that Uber will also be accepting debit cards in addition to credit cards.
The new mechanism is on top of an existing mobile wallet, courtesy of a partnership with Paytm. That wallet was put in place shortly after the Reserve Bank called for the Uber ban due to non-compliance with 2-factor authentication, in an attempt to satisfy the requirement. One of the goals of the Uber Paytm wallet was that it did not require any payment card, given that a very large number of Indian consumers do not have plastic payment cards. Instead, it allowed consumers to load money into the wallet using cash or direct bank account transfers.
But it wasn't especially popular because "the integration while functional was cumbersome as it meant that users had to add funds to Paytm's digital wallet before hailing a cab," reported Android Central. The Economic Times piece added: "The move to restart credit card payments comes after users complained about the hassle to load a Paytm wallet repeatedly in order to ride an Uber cab in India, thus hampering a seamless payments experience that the company offers in other markets."
The Indian market has become a hotbed of payments focus, with a large number of mobile payments players vying for dominance, including Freecharge, Paytm, Citrus Payment, Oxigen, Mobikwik, Zaakpay and ItzCash. Alibabaand its Alipay unitare also making an aggressive move into India. Walmart is also pushing hard, now allowing Indian consumers to pay with M-Pesa.