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Uber to Launch Digital Wallet

On Monday (10/28), Uber, the American multinational ridesharing company announced their further step into the market of digital finance platforms. The company will be releasing their newest division, Uber Money, which will oversee every financial service aspects of the company from the company’s credit and debit card offerings, to digital wallet for riders and features providing drivers an improved way to get the money they earn on rides instantly, the company says. These features are integrated particularly to provide a hassle-free service for both the riders and drivers to pay or receive money in a simpler way and anytime they intend to. Head of Uber Money, Peter Hazlehurst added that Apple Pay and Google Pay will also accessible through this feature.

Uber’s shift into fintech aspirations emerged in June when CNBC reported that the company was hiring new engineers in New York. But neither the report or the company’s announced division made a significant change for its share price. The company’s stocks have been down 20% ever since its IPO in May, dropping to a level of US$31.50 per Thursday (31/10). That’s somewhat surprising given recent world sentiments with payment companies.

The pivot to fintech has been a tried and true strategy among Asian startups. Further research in Indonesia, where two ridesharing giants, Grab and Gojek, has intensified digital payment services, shows that 46% of companies reckoned that they are keen to accept digital payments in the next 2 or 3 years, whilst the other 30% are already accepting digital payments. This statement is followed by a report from Brain & Company, Google and Temasek, reckoned that even in Southeast Asia, digital economy is projected to rise to $300 billion by 2025. “There is some precedence for success,” Bernstein analyst Harshita Rawat said of big tech platforms in Asia offering financial services. Victor Orlovski, Managing Partner at Fort Ross Ventures, thinks Uber is well positioned to become a kind of business bank for its gig workers, and says services like financing and remittances could be promising business lines. However, he adds, a more focused and streamlined approach for Uber’s financial app is needed.



Financial Times

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