Uber is moving deeper into payments technology, launching a new unit to bring financial services including “instant pay” to drivers.
The ride-hailing company said Uber Money will work on “financial products and technologies that deliver additional value for the Uber community, all at Uber speed.”
Already on the fintech menu is an update to drivers’ Uber Debit accounts that will enable them to get the money they earn from rides instantly, instead of typically having to wait for weekly payments or cash out using a feature called Instant Pay.
More than 70% of Uber drivers’ payments are now made using Instant Pay so “clearly the drivers want to get paid as quickly as they can,” Uber’s Head of Payments Peter Hazlehurst told Pymnts.com.
With Uber Wallet, which will go live in the Uber Driver app in the next few weeks, drivers will also be able to more easily track their earnings, manage cash back and even pay bills. Apple Pay and Google Pay will be integrated with Uber Wallet so drivers can immediately spend their earnings, even without a physical debit card.
“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,” CNBC said.
Other tech companies have also been venturing into finance, with Apple recently launching a credit card with Goldman Sachs and Amazon offering small business loans to its merchants. Facebook unveiled an ambitious plan this year to launch a cryptocurrency.
For riders, Uber Wallet will migrate to Uber Eats and Uber’s main app in 2020 and the company will relaunch its credit card. “This is really about moving the needle to reward our best and most loyal customers with more Uber services,” Hazlehurst said.
TechCrunch, however, was skeptical about Uber’s fintech push, noting that “While financial tools may be helpful to drivers, it does not fix the core issue at hand for the many drivers who want to be treated as employees rather than 1099 independent contractors.”
Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images