The move is another move by Japan’s SoftBank Group — which is a shareholder in Uber — to integrate its business in Latin America. While the source wouldn’t comment on the terms of a possible deal, it would target the rideshare giant’s drivers and Banco’s more than 3 million clients. Brazil is now Uber’s largest market outside the United States, with São Paulo boasting more Uber rides than any other city in the world.
In July, Uber partnered with Mastercard and financial institution BBVA to offer a debit card to drivers in Mexico to promote banking in what is mostly a cash country. The launch is the first for Uber in a country outside of the United States, and it will be available in six Mexican cities initially: Mexico City, Tijuana, Monterrey, Puebla, Merida and Guadalajara. After the rollout, there are plans for it to be extended to the rest of the country. The partnership with BBVA means that drivers can open accounts right in the app without having to go to an actual bank.
“Uber supports the extension of financial services in the country,” Federico Ranero, Uber Mexico’s general manager, said at the time.
SoftBank also recently announced a $5 billion Innovation Fund focused on Latin America, with the goal of investing in technology companies across the region, including eCommerce, FinTech and healthcare. The fund will also help existing portfolio companies to expand business in Latin America. SoftBank has already invested $100 million in 99, a Latin American ride-hailing company that was acquired by Didi Chuxing.
“There is so much innovation and disruption taking place in the region and I believe the business opportunities have never been stronger,” said SoftBank Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure in August.