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Uber unveils Uber Money to improve driver benefits, reward loyalty

| by David Jones
Uber unveils Uber Money to improve driver benefits, reward loyalty

Uber has unveiled its long anticipated foray into the fintech business, announcing Uber Money as a series of mobile applications and credit products that will enhance the working conditions of its drivers, while also rewarding customers who frequent the ride sharing service. 

Peter Hazlehurst, who leads the payments business at Uber, unveiled the initiative at the Money 2020 conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday and also outlined the product line in a blogpost.

The Uber Money service will provide drivers with real-time access to their earned income through the Uber debit account, which will credit drivers with updated earnings collected during every trip instead of making them wait for weekly checks. 

"Uber Money is a consolidation of previous efforts in the financial services area by Uber, including attempts at cash advances and credit cards," Nick Maynard, lead analyst at Juniper Research, told Mobile Payments Today via email. "By offering instant payments for drivers, it means that its large driver pool will be able to access funds much quicker, which will improve conditions and incentivise drivers to continue working with Uber, rather than moving to competing platforms." 

Maynard said the broader move into financial services, including its branded credit card, will allow Uber to capitalize on its ecosystem of customers to add additional revenue streams and strengthen its customer relationships. 

Uber is also updating the no-fee Uber debit account, backed by Green Dot, to integrate seamlessly with the Uber Driver app. The updated Uber debit card will provide 3% cash back rewards on gas and up to 6% for the highest tier of Uber Pro drivers. 

Uber also announced the Uber wallet, which allows users to track their spending and earning history and manage their money. The wallet will be available in the Uber app within a few weeks and eventually get integrated into the Uber and Uber Eats apps as well. 

Lastly, Uber is relaunching the Uber credit card, its flagship consumer card with Barclays. Cardholders will get 5% back for spending on the Uber platform, including purchases on Uber Rides, Uber Eats, Jump bikes with scooters and even helicopter rides to JFK International Airport from Manhattan. 

The Uber Money effort addresses a couple of issues for the ride sharing company, which is facing a move by California regulators to reclassify independent contractors as company employees across multiple types of companies. The legislation threatens to radically change the economics for ride sharing companies, restaurants, publishers and multiple types of business that rely on gig workers and freelancers. 

Uber, Lyft and other ride sharing firms have faced years of pushback from local regulators, unions and their own workers seeking what they perceive as more equitable treatment for the work that they do. In one of the more high profile countermeasures by workers, Uber was hit several years ago by a wildcat job action by drivers at JFK airport . 

Uber is taking a page from so-called super apps like Grab Pay, WeChat Pay and Alipay, which operate in Asian markets with different combinations of ride sharing, fintech, social media, food delivery and economic inclusion. 

In May, rival Lyft announced a co-branded Mastercard that provided immediate access to funds for drivers, cash back on purchases and other perks.

Cover image: Uber.




 


Topics: In-App Payments, Loyalty Programs, Mobile Payments, Regulatory Issues, Restaurants

Companies: Uber, Lyft, Inc.



David Jones

David Jones is a veteran business and technology journalist, with three decades of experience writing about business travel, real estate and technology.

Since 2015 he covered a range of technology stories for the ECT News Network, which includes the E-Commerce Times, TechNewsWorld, LinuxInsider and CRM Buyer, writing about cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, machine learning, open source computing and privacy issues among others,. He recently covered FinTech issues for PYMNTS.com.

He worked as a staff writer for Bloomberg Business News and an online reporter for Crain’s New York Business. He has written for numerous media organizations, including Reuters, The New York Times, The Real Deal, Continental, City Limits and The Nation.

He was previously awarded the George Washington Williams Fellowship for Journalists of Color by the Independent Press Association.




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