Is This Uber’s Mo­bile Wal­let?

Uber has hinted at its de­vel­op­ment of an un­con­ven­tional mo­bile wal­let. Did that wal­let launch un­der the guise of a co­branded credit card?


Many com­pa­nies in fi­nan­cial ser­vices say they want to be the next Uber. But the re­verse may also be true, with the ride- shar­ing com­pany adding a co­brand card that can be man­aged from within the Uber app.

Bar­clay­card and Uber’s new Visa card, uses its dig­i­tal ad­van­tage in a few ways: Con­sumers can ap­ply— and get ap­proved—in min­utes by sign­ing up di­rectly within the Uber app, a process sped up by hav­ing ba­sic cus­tomer in­for­ma­tion al­ready on file. Once ap­proved, cus­tomers can shop im­me­di­ately with a dig­i­tal ver­sion of the card, earn­ing re­wards and track­ing them in real time via the Uber app.

The in-app money man­age­ment fea­tures harken to the am­bi­tions the rideshar­ing com­pany hinted at last month at Source­me­dia’s an­nual Pay­think con­fer­ence.

“What we’re work­ing on, I don’t even want to call it a wal­let,” said Brian Crist, chief pay­ments coun­sel for Uber Tech­nolo­gies, at Pay­think. “One thing that we con­tinue to look at is trip ex­pe­ri­ence … could you pay for a restaurant, for ex­am­ple? Could you pay for your the­ater tickets through the ex­pe­ri­ence?”

The card’s re­wards struc­ture are in line with that phi­los­o­phy.

Like many cards tar­get­ing mid­dle­mar­ket con­sumers, the Uber Visa card has no an­nual fee, and re­wards vary based on the mer­chan­dise cat­e­gory, em­pha­siz­ing ac­tiv­i­ties most pop­u­lar with Uber rid­ers.

Cus­tomers may earn re­wards at a rate of 4% of spend­ing on restau­rants and UBEREATS; 3% on travel; 2% for on­line pur­chases (in­clud­ing Uber) and 1% on ev­ery­thing else, and an in­tro­duc­tory bonus in­cludes $100 in points af­ter spend­ing $500 on the card dur­ing the first 90 days.

Other ben­e­fits point to the card’s po­ten­tial ap­peal to a dig­i­tal- savvy con­sumer, with no for­eign trans­ac­tion fees; a one-time $50 credit for on­line sub­scrip­tion ser­vices like Net­flix when spend­ing $5,000 an­nu­ally and mo­bile phone in­sur­ance of up to $600 for dam­age and theft when the card is used to pay the monthly mo­bile phone bill.

“We’ve put fea­tures in this card that di­rectly re­late to Uber users’ ev­ery­day life­styles, which in­cludes real- time vis­i­bil­ity into re­wards as they’re earn­ing— and us­ing them,” said Denny Nealon, head of U.S. part­ner­ships for Bar­clay­card in an in­ter­view at Money20/20 co­in­cid­ing with the card’s an­nounce­ment.

Bar­clay­card said its re­search showed strong con­sumer in­ter­est in this niche for earn­ing re­wards on ev­ery­day ac­tiv­i­ties, with the abil­ity to quickly plow re­wards back into fre­quent trans­ac­tion types, Nealon said.

“Uber users love im­me­di­acy and the re­wards we’re of­fer­ing cater to that life­style,” he said.

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