The company announced on Monday the formation of a new division called Uber Money to house its efforts, which include a digital wallet and upgraded debit and credit cards. The emphasis, at first, will be expanding Uber’s efforts to give its 4 million-plus drivers and couriers around the world access to a mobile bank account so they can get paid after each ride, according to Peter Hazlehurst, who will head the new division.
“We wanted to help everybody understand that there’s a new part of Uber that’s focused on financial services and that has a mission of giving people access to the type of financial services they were excluded from,” Hazlehurst said in a phone interview.
Under pressure to turn a profit amid competition from new ride-sharing entrants around the world, Uber is betting that by building out its financial ecosystem, it can keep drivers and riders loyal to its platform.
The company topped 100 million monthly active users this year. Many of them use credit cards to pay for rides and food orders. Future products could remove costs related to financial middlemen or generate new revenue streams.
Uber’s ambitions could bring drivers into the realm of digital finance in parts of the world where cash is still king, like Pakistan and Bangladesh. About 40% of all Uber trips globally are paid using paper currency, Hazlehurst said, and Uber is eager to bring that figure down.
After equipping drivers with electronic bank accounts — echoing the model of so-called challenger banks like Chime and Varo — would Uber one day look to provide its many millions of riders with an account, too?
“I think so,” Hazlehurst said. “The reality is that the needs of our partners in the U.S. and in Brazil and in Australia and in India mirror in many ways the needs of consumers as well, particularly in the cash-heavy economies. And the opportunity that we have is to expand to help all of those people have access to financial services.”
„O singură provizie am făcut, de card, pentru că nu mai umblu cu banii în buzunar. Banii sunt cei mai periculoși când este vorba de răspândirea unei molimi. Am renunțat la cash. În rest, este o prostie să faci provizii. Dacă vine o molimă și nici nu știi când va ajunge, dacă ar fi să se întindă, pe cât timp să poți să faci provizii? Faci provizii pe trei săptămâni, pe patru săptămâni și mai departe?”, a spus consultantul.