99 Pay, the digital wallet from Brazilian ride-hailing app 99, owned by the Chinese giant Didi Chuxing since 2018, when the app became the first Brazillian unicorn, hit 1.3 million active users less than a year after its launch.
Available in more than 25 cities, 99 Pay arrived in Rio de Janeiro in April and is now accelerating its expansion schedule due to the good adherence to the service. The goal is to reach São Paulo city and the metropolitan region in the first semester and be in all Brazilian cities by the end of the year, even in those where the ride-hailing app 99 does not operate.
The company does not disclose the amount handled via digital wallet but says that the service has already generated more than BRL 22 million in savings to customers through cashback, discounts on rides, and bonuses for balance held in the wallet.
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Maurício Orsolini Filho, 99 Pay’s director, told LABS that the platform’s goal is to be a leader in popularizing digital payment methods, adding value to 99’s service platform and generating more security for the user.
99 Pay digital wallet is focused on passengers – drivers have another app – and it is the 99’s first bet in the financial services area. Orsolini Filho reinforces that 99 has no plans to become a financial institution at the moment but confirms that the strategy related to the financial solutions portfolio is bold and includes, in the future, the development and launch of a credit card. “Business evolves, and so do the demands.”
99: expansion strategy to become an ecosystem
The launch of its own digital wallet was a natural step for 99, which wants to grow as an ecosystem, operating in several segments and not just in the urban ride-hailing service. “99 provides mobility and delivery services, and the digital wallet is a product that generates more value for our users. In addition to being a solution for external payments, our e-wallet is part of a broader service platform,” says Orsolini Filho.
99 is committed to capillarity and the recurrence of the platform to boost its 99 Pay digital wallet. Today, 99 is in 1,600 Brazilian cities and has more than 20 million monthly active users.
The 99 Pay digital wallet also offers cashback, discounts on rides paid with the digital wallet, and a 220% CDI bonus on the balance held in the wallet. “We have already generated savings of BRL 22 million. We are always testing ways to return money to the user.”
In addition to serving as a payment method for other services offered on 99’s platform, 99 Pay also allows payments through boleto bancário (a type of cash voucher or bank slip largely used by Brazilians), cell phone recharges, and transfers between individuals (P2P). New features will be added in the first semester, such as PIX (Brazilian instant payment system) and the payment of boletos in installments.
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According to Orsolini Filho, 99 Pay also invests in features to attract unbanked users or poor access to banking services. Generally, users need to add money to digital wallets through a deposit or the payment of a boleto bancário. “99 Pay allows the money to be added by paying an extra amount for the race via 99, and so that amount is transferred to the e-wallet; or transferring change from the race to the e-wallet. It is a unique feature that only 99 can offer because of its integrated platform,” he explains.
Orsolini Filho explains that the digital wallet could have been launched with more features. Still, the company concluded that it was more important to conquer the users before expanding its portfolio, showing how simple and efficient 99 Pay is.