Flutterwave, based in San Francisco and Nigeria, has been on a roll since it pulled in $35 million last year in venture funding, including from Worldpay. In April, Flutterwave launched an online portal that will enable African businesses to set up online shops.
At the heart of Flutterwave is its online payments business. Uber plans to benefit from Flutterwave’s “remittance partners” in Africa.
The new partnership will let Uber riders “top up Uber wallets,” TechCrunch reported. Uber Cash will be available this week, or next, the ride-hailing giant’s business in in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Ghana, Ivory Coast and Tanzania.
In addition, Uber Cash in Africa will also accept transfers from Flutterwave’s Barter payment app, launched with Visa in 2019.
Alon Lits, Uber’s general manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, said that, “depending on the country, you’ve got different top up methods available. For example in Nigeria you can use your Verve Card or mobile money.”
Lits said that Uber, for the most part, continued to operate in Sub-Saharan Africa during the COVID-19 crisis. However, government rules shut the company down in Uganda and Lagos, Nigeria.
On the other hand, he said, there has been a significant drop in actual ridership. To deal with the coronavirus pandemic, he said, drivers and riders are now required to wear masks.
“We’re actually leveraging facial recognition technology to check that drivers are wearing masks before they go,” said Lits.
For its part, Flutterwave has hooked up with Chinese Alibaba’s Alipay to facilitate digital payments between Africa and China.
Flutterwave is also using its partnerships with WorldPay and Visa. Flutterwave plans to serve as the African payment provider for WorldPay’s clients, with the ability to issue physical and virtual credit cards and to process payments.