Uber unveils a new financial service called Uber Money. For now, it is only available to Uber drivers and Uber Eats delivery drivers in the United States. The aim is to extinguish social discontent and to test a new growth lever. Uber is diversifying, and not necessarily in the way most observers have predicted.
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The offer includes a digital portfolio, called Uber Wallet. In practical terms, drivers and couriers will have real-time access to their account transactions integrated into the Uber Driver application. This mobile bank account will allow them to access the amount paid by the customer after each ride. “Employees and savers will now be able to easily track their income and expense history, manage and transfer their money and discover new Uber financial products in one place,” the company continues. Uber Wallet will first be deployed in the Uber Driver application and soon in the Uber and Uber Eats applications.
As for bank cards (debit and withdrawal cards) linked to free Green Dot accounts, they will allow to access discounts on fuel, from 3% and up to 6% for Uber Pro drivers. Uber Credit Card, launched in partnership with Barclays in 2017, has been redesigned and will allow its holders to receive 5% of their expenses in Uber Cash on the Uber, Uber Rides, Uber Eats and Jump applications. Another feature is a $100 free overdraft authorization for drivers and couriers.
Building driver and customer loyalty
A portfolio of services, that at first sight seems to be intended to extinguish the grumbling of the approximately 4 million “employees” who regularly complain about their working conditions and the precariousness of their situation, is the subject of debate in the United States and Europe. The objective is to meet the expectations of this community but also to attract the approximately 100 million active monthly users at a time when competition is fierce, by pushing promotional offers to encourage them to use these means of payment. Uber Money aims to enrich new functionalities and to expand to new countries, according to the US company.
Uber is seeking to diversify its revenues, in a context of financial difficulties that are not likely to reassure the investors. The long-standing player in the transport of private individuals on demand posted record losses of $5.24 billion last August. In any case, Uber is another technological player to invest in this sector where Google, Apple, and Facebook have tried their luck with more or less success.
These payment innovations highlight the reality that many are struggling to make ends meet. Another popular feature, no-cost $100 overdrafts, helps cash-strapped drivers pay for gas to kick off a working day. It is a better alternative than high-interest payday loans.
Uber’s ambitions could bring drivers into the realm of digital finance in parts of the world where cash is still the king. About 40% of all Uber trips globally are paid using paper currency.
Tech is coming
Uber’s move is the latest sign that tech giants are looking to enter the finance sector. Apple recently launched a credit card with Goldman Sachs, and Amazon has been offering small business loans to its merchants for years. Facebook unveiled an ambitious plan this year to help remake global finance with its libra cryptocurrency, although that effort lost momentum after some corporate partners abandoned the project.
Uber recently surveyed U.S. drivers about whether they’d be interested in taking small loans from the company.
First published in L’USINEDIGITALE, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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