On the 28th of October, Uber announced that it is releasing ‘Uber Money’, a new way of providing payment methods via a digital bank account. Uber, also a part of the Libra Association, seeks to not only provide new payment methods for clients but to also help their four million drivers who might not have access to traditional finance systems.
The incentive will solve issues such as instant transactions, digital bank accounts, and cross-border payments, making it easier for drivers to earn and use their salary. While there is no direct mention of cryptocurrencies, the press release indicates an interest in digital assets. As we already know, the new asset class of digital assets could significantly help Uber’s incentive, as they can solve all of the issues listed previously.
According to the official press release, the platform will be initially launched to help Uber drivers earn and manage their money. However, the application may, later on, enter the sphere of the financial services sector, as it may be developed similarly to the Apple Card, which millions of Apple users utilize for making quick and cost-effective transactions.
At the very start, Uber Money will present a digital wallet that can be connected with debit and credit cards. In partnership with Barclays, the company will also relaunch the Uber Credit Card which both drivers and clients can use for making any transaction through a Visa payment processor.
Peter Hazlehurst, who will head the new Uber Money division, stated the following in an interview with CNBC: ‘We wanted to help everybody understand that there’s a new part of Uber that’s focused on financial services and that has a mission of giving people access to the type of financial services they were excluded from.’
So… What about Libra?
While Libra is developed to become a global product for cross-border transactions, individuals can still use Facebook’s protentional project at home as well. With the previous notion in mind, it is strange that Uber decided to create its own product for digitally managing money instead of relying on Libra, given the fact that the company is a founding member of the Libra Association.
This may indicate that Libra’s backers are unsure about the future of the cryptocurrency and that they plan on creating their own products for the financial services industry. However, Uber Money will in the future integrate Apple Pay and Google Pay to create a new ecosystem for payments according to Hazlehurst. The previous statement means that Uber might also integrate Facebook’s Libra, through which a significant portion of people would have the chance to interact with cryptocurrencies.