Southeast Asian taxi on demand service GrabTaxi is preparing to introduce cashless payments in order to compete with Uber’s credit card funded service.
GrabTaxi will start allowing cashless payments via credit card within the next couple months, TechCrunch reported, but will still allow customers to pay in cash too. The cashless payments option will be gradually rolled out for beta testing, starting in March in Singapore.
GrabTaxi has previously integrated with DBS PayLah to allow its customers in Singapore to pay with a mobile wallet.
GrabTaxi was launched in Malaysia, allowing customers in Southeast Asian markets to book regular taxis and pay using cash. But the company made several changes to its services to compete more directly with Uber, launching GrabCar, a limo service reminiscent of Uber Black, in May 2014.
GrabTaxi has now become Uber’s biggest rival in Asia thanks to a series of big investments, raising $340 million in funding from investors in 2014 including $250 million from main backer SoftBank.
Uber has largely restricted its options to credit card payments, and has yet to add alternatives to cater for areas with low credit card penetration, other than the integration of Paytm in India. This move, however, was forced by Reserve Bank of India regulations that require a two-step authentication process for credit card payments, which Uber’s process bypasses.
GrabTaxi is also facing competition from Hailo in Singapore and Japan, along with Easy Taxi, backed by Rocket Internet.
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