Mention innovation and disruption and thoughts will often turn to Uber. The story of the ridesharing company’s massive disruption of the century-old regulated taxi industry is well-documented.
The nuances of that disruption, however, may not be.
According to a new PYMNTS column from Karen Webster — one inspired by the recent launch of Uber Cash — the fuel source that ignited the Uber platform wasn’t the smartphone (though that surely helped), but payment cards and the card networks – specifically, how Uber used them both.
But since Uber’s launch, its ecosystem has expanded, as the column describes, putting the concept of “ecosystem” into historical context. Today, in fact, many call Uber Eats the company’s secret weapon.
Now comes Uber Cash, a closed-loop payment network that lets consumers easily add funds to its stored value account.
“We are just giving people a more seamless way to pay on Uber,” said Rob Daniel, lead of financial products at Uber. “They can get rewarded and have the ability to plan ahead and budget” for their Uber purchases. “They can better plan out their spend across Uber. And we can connect all of our growing platforms and modalities via a single payment method.”
Will Uber Cash one day extend beyond that closed-loop offering? “That’s certainly an interesting opportunity,” Daniel said.
Uber’s ecosystem is growing: Consider Uber’s purchase of JUMP Bikes for an undisclosed price in April. Another example is Uber’s recent announcement that it wants to offer access to electric bicycles and scooters for shorter trips. Uber has made deals with electric scooter company Lime and London-based Masabi, which offers mobile ticketing for public transportation.
All fueled by payments and payments cards.