Careem partners with Visa to provide its drivers access immediately to earnings

14 Jul 2020 3:20 PM
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Dubai-based ride-hailing business Careem teamed up with Visa to offer its drivers real-time access to their daily trip income to help ease liquidity, facilitate remittances and improve personal inclusion.

The cashless payments service will be rolled out within the next quarter in the UAE, followed by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan, Junaid Iqbal, managing director of Careem Pay, told reporters on a video conference on Sunday.

The partnership will allow Careem's drivers, or captains, to get their money quickly and digitally, reducing "friction" in the payments system, Mr Iqbal said during the virtual press conference.

The multi-year agreement with Visa will certainly reduce enough time lag in paying drivers that currently ranges from hours to days, based on the marketplace. The delay takes place when customers make cash-free payments, the business collects the cash and then disperses salary to its drivers, a lot of whom are underbanked.

The drivers will obtain Visa credentials on the Careem Super App, providing them with access to their funds immediately, Otto Williams, vice president and mind of strategic partnerships, FinTechs and ventures at Visa, said.

This not merely eases liquidity through the difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic, but also helps in "powering remittances in a low-cost and efficient way" to bank accounts and Visa cards globally, he said.

The Careem Pay for Super App will be built with Visa’s real time push payment solution Visa Direct which allows real-time payments directly to eligible cards, accounts and wallets.

The service "reduces costs for the captains, removes cash from the knowledge, and gives back time so they don’t need to go to currency properties" to remit their funds, Mr Williams said.

The partnership may also remove the need for cash through the pandemic, as consumers increasingly prefer contactless payments.

Digital payments now represent at least a third of most face-to-face transactions in almost 50 countries, according to Visa data.

In the UAE and Saudi Arabia, that shape is higher - with eight out of 10 transactions in the kingdom and over fifty percent of transactions in the Emirates manufactured using contactless cards or devices.

"Enabling secure, immediate activity of money for gig economy staff just like Careem captains is particularly essential as we support monetary recovery attempts," Marcello Baricordi, Visa’s general supervisor for Middle East and North Africa, stated in a statement.

“With the pandemic already reinforcing existing trends towards increased digitisation of payments, it is vital to introduce convenient and secure cashless solutions to bring formal financial services to the underbanked," he said.

Careem and Visa have partnered with banks and regulators in the five market segments where in fact the service will come to be rolled out.

Careem can make further announcements about the banking partners and processor chip for the support, Mr Iqbal said.