Uber hopes to accelerate the creation of financial products by setting up a new fintech frontier in New York, CNBC reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Ride-sharing platform Uber is actively building a New York fintech talent pool, hoping to build up its financial ecosystem as soon as possible and widen the gap with competitors like Lyft, according to people familiar with the matter. The New York branch is expected to eventually employ more than 100 people.
Uber recently completed its IPO last month, and since then it has been exploring the New York talent pool, focusing on fintech and banking staff, as opposed to the company’s hiring direction at its San Francisco headquarters. By building a financial ecosystem, the company can further strengthen its competitive edge over rivals such as Lyft. Those efforts are likely to focus on increasing employee engagement and loyalty to the Uber platform, according to people who participated in the hiring earlier this year.
Uber is likely to launch many payment and loan innovations: The company has 93 million active users worldwide, most of whom use bound credit cards or mobile wallets called Uber Cash to pay for rides and food delivery.
The two main areas currently being studied by Uber’s financial products team include establishing a “payment experience,” encouraging delivery riders and diners to use Uber or remove costs from the system, and helping contractors manage the cash they earn.
This is consistent with products already released by Uber, such as Uber cash–, which includes discounts for users to recharge their wallets, loyalty program Uber Rewards, and joint credit cards. On the other hand, Uber allows drivers to receive up to five pay a day instead of waiting for a weekly payroll.
According to a person familiar with the matter, Uber is likely to go further — creating Uber super bank accounts for its users.
The possibility of creating a bank account has been discussed at Uber’s top level, but it could take years, the person said, and there is an uncertain risk that the decision could be reversed in the meantime. For the most part, Uber must rely on the banking system to get paid and pay drivers, and in the future they may use their own banks to simplify middlemen.
Amazon, another tech giant, is reportedly considering hiring Banks including J.P.Morgan Chase to help explore how to create checking accounts for customers.
If Uber seeks to conduct a bank account business, it is expected to work with the existing FDIC Insurance bank rather than obtain a franchise on its own. Most fintech companies now rely on small institutions to provide banking services, such as Cross River bank and Celtic Bank.