Hailo is adopting the payment method that was one of the key factors in driving Uber’s popularity – mobile payments.
Now, London’s 22,500 black cabs will be able to accept mobile payments for of their taxis hailed off the street.
How it works
The first thing one should notice is that there is no app. Instead the service is mobile web optimised meaning that a user accesses it via their phone’s internet browser. They then enter the taxi driver’s ID number and confirm the payment amount. Upon completing the payment, the driver receives a notification and the passenger receives a receipt on their device, which can be sent via email.
There are also options that allow people to split fares or pay in part with cash and mobile – something that Uber doesn’t do.
Andrew Pinnington, CEO of Hailo said, “The taxi industry is far from a cash-only, technophobic trade. In the past four years, the Hailo app has facilitated mobile and card payments for almost 9 million journeys in London, and now, through HailoPay, all London black cabs have the ability to accept mobile payments for passengers hailing off the street.”
It’s a clever move to make the service work over the web rather than through an app as it immediately widens the pool of potential users from people who already have the app to anyone with internet on their phone. Hailo usage is dwarfed by the amount of people who like to use Uber so any attempt to appeal to more people had to be made.
The downside of having HailoPay work over mobile web rather than via an app without an account is that the payment information is not stored. This means that the user has to input card details for every journey, which is rather inconvenient, especially when one remembers that retention of card information is what made Uber such a big hit in the first place.
However, it is a big step forward for a company that has notoriously struggled to claw any territory from its San Francisco rival. Hailo is even adopting Uber’s promotional technique of enticing potential riders with £10 off the first ride.
The introduction of the service comes at a time when Uber is having a bit of a bumpy ride. Many Uber drivers are protesting outside Uber’s London HQ today, because the company has increased how much commission it makes on fares from 20 per cent to 25 per cent.
However, any Uber drivers angry enough to leave Uber, won’t be able to make the most of Hailo’s new mobile payment service as the company became a black cab only company, meaning it doesn’t work with private hires anymore.
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