Date
12 December 2017
Uber has partnered with Barclays on a new Visa card, which will be available from next month in the United States. Photo: Uber
Uber has partnered with Barclays on a new Visa card, which will be available from next month in the United States. Photo: Uber

Uber now offers a credit card

Uber has transformed the way you get around. Now it is getting into the credit card business.

The ride-sharing company announced it has partnered with Barclays Bank on a new Visa card, which will be available from next month in the United States.

Starting Nov. 2, riders can apply using the Uber app, get approved within minutes and then immediately add the card to their Uber wallet, the company said.

The card is automatically available for use for Uber rides and UberEats purchases, while a physical card will arrive in the mail about a week later.

“The Uber Visa Card is one of the richest no-annual-fee card programs available in the US,” said Denny Nealon, head of US partnerships at Barclays.

The plan is to avoid direct mailings in favor of courting Uber’s 65 million monthly active riders.

The new card has no annual fee and offers a bonus of US$100 after spending US$500 on purchases within the first 90 days. 

Benefits include 4 percent cash back for dining, 3 percent on airfare and hotels, 2 percent on in-app and online purchases, and 1 percent on everything else you use the card for.

On top of that, the new card also gives users who spend more than US$5,000 annually a US$50 credit, phone insurance of up to US$600 if someone uses the card to pay their monthly phone bill, and exclusive invites to events for card members.

Moreover, cardholders will earn 1 to 4 points per dollar on purchases, depending on the purchase category. Points can then be redeemed at a rate of one cent apiece as Uber credits directly within the Uber app, for statement credits or for gift cards. Redemptions for Uber credits start at 500 points for US$5.

There are also no foreign transaction fees. The card comes with annual interest rate of 15.99 percent, 21.74 percent and 24.74 percent based on an applicant’s creditworthiness, and there is no upper limit on credit lines, TechCrunch reported, citing a Barclays spokeswoman.

Judy Zhu, an Uber business development executive, told Reuters that the card was a way to encourage customers to use Uber for more than rides. “We are really starting to think about how to connect Uber to the things you are doing before and after riding,” Zhu said.

Uber has had issues with privacy in the past. The company is under fire over privacy issues ranging from tracking user locations once they have left a vehicle, to a weird screen recording permission in its iOS app and more.

Uber’s push into credit is the opposite path that its rivals in emerging markets have taken. Grab, a Southeast Asian ride-hailing platform, bought Kudo earlier this year as a way to give its customers access to basic digital financial services, and Ola built a standalone app for the same reason.

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With the card, Uber wants to encourage customers to use its services for more than rides. Photo: Uber


EJ Insight writer

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