Uber will allow Indian travelers to pay for rides globally using Paytm’s wallet. This follow’s Uber’s earlier announcement of a global partnership with Alipay to enable Chinese travelers to request and pay for rides from either the Uber or Alipay app.

A spokesperson for Paytm confirmed the development with MediaNama and added that the company will be integrating the same by the end of the month and will be closely tied to Paytm’s payments bank operations. However, the company is yet to send a statement regarding the same.

Eric Jing, president of Ant Financial, Alipay’s parent company said that the deal is part of Alipay’s global strategy and will be working with partners like Paytm in India. 

The Alipay partnership will be available in over 400 cities Uber is present in. Chinese users can call for an Uber cab in the Alipay app or select Alipay as a payment option in the Uber app. A direct Yuan Renmibi (RMB) payment will be charged to a user’s Alipay account. Note that Uber’s statement does not mention how the integration with Paytm will work. 

Nikhil adds: Globally, Uber allows payment for rides via an international credit or debit card, but doesn’t allow Indian credit cards; from what I was told, Uber stopped allowing the usage of Indian credit cards internationally in February this year. I had major trouble using Uber in San Francisco, and eventually had to take someones US based card to use Uber there. This is a welcome move from Uber and Paytm, even though questions remain unanswered.


Questions unanswered

MediaNama wrote to Uber and Paytm asking for clarifications on:

  • How a prepaid payments instrument licence in India can be used to pay for rides abroad? This is considering that rides would be charged in local currency. Uber says that the users will be charged in RMB for Chinese users.
  • How would Uber and Paytm factor in foreign exchange rate when operating globally?

An Uber spokesperson told MediaNama that “we are not in position to tell you about forex differences, only Paytm can answer that”. Paytm so far has not responded and we will update once we hear from them. 

Earlier partnership with Alipay and Paytm

It is interesting to note that this isn’t the first time Alipay and Paytm were in a partnership for payments globally. In February, the companies signed an agreement  which would allow Alipay’s global customers from China, Japan, US and the UK buy from Paytm’s merchants and Indian Paytm users to buy from merchants listed on Alipay.

In September 2015, mobile ad network InMobi partnered with  Alipay, Paytm and Stripe (a US based payments company) to enable purchases over its advertising discovery platform Miip. Stripe would be handling payments in the United States, Alipay in China and Paytm in India.

Essentially, shoppers in India could buy goods from Chinese and American ecommerce sites which advertized on the ad network and payments could be done through Paytm. 

Ant Financial investment in Paytm

In February 2015, Ant Financial Services acquired a 25% stake in One97 Communications for an undisclosed amount, according to the companies. One97 runs the mobile-only marketplace and digital wallet service Paytm.

Interestingly, the Economic Times points out that Ant Financial Services’ parent is Alibaba which owns a stake in Uber rival Didi Kuaidi. Didi Kuaidi is also an investor in Uber’s India rival, Ola. 


Updates: Added context based on user experience in San Francisco, and restructured the post a bit. Fixed headline for clarity.