Local Ola challenges Uber in India

Ola announced the launch of their in-app wallet feature, enabling a seamless payments experience that might just challenge Uber in India as the American service faces regulatory problems. 

Ola, the Indian cab booking service, will now allow customers to recharge their account through a credit/debit card or online banking account right from the app. The wallet will not only allow users to ride cashless, but also help them gift a ride or pre-pay for other people’s rides.

The wallet completes the ‘entirely digital’ experience that Ola has been aiming to provide – over 70 per cent of Ola’s bookings now come through the app. The Ola app is available for users across Android, iOS and Windows platform.

The Ola app currently has over 25,000 cars available across 15 cities.

To remove the hassle of paying in cash at the end of a ride, the mobile wallet from Ola enables users to recharge their account for a sum anywhere between Rs. 100 to Rs. 5000. In a bid to encourage more users to use the wallet, the company has announced a Diwali offer where it will double the amount of money added to the wallet by users until the end of October.

“Providing customers a seamless travel experience has always been our priority,”  said Harsha Kumar, Head of Products at Ola. “We are very excited about the possibilities that our mobile wallet offers and firmly believe that our customers will love this cash-free experience. We have added a host of additional and unique features in the latest app. These features, along with offering a great travel experience, will also make traveling within the city more convenient and secure for every one!” 

Uber entered India about a year ago, and is now expanding its low-cost option, replacing its score of  BMWs, Mercedes’ and Audis with Innovas and Corollas.

Uber’s use of an overseas bank, however, to route payments from users and to the drivers, both in India, is seen as violating the Reserve Bank’s foreign exchange rules, in addition to flouting the requirement for a second security authentication that is mandatory in India.

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