In the Middle Ages, payday was a annual event where local landowners and their peasant workers settled down for the work of the previous year and wrote the terms for the following year. As industrialization replaced feudalism, pay cycles became monthly. The modern era ushered in the notion of a weekly or bi-weekly pay cycle, which remains the norm for most American workers today.
For about half of the workforce, this system works well, UberPeter Hazlehurst’s payments manager told Karen Webster in a recent conversation. These workers earn enough in each pay period to cover their expenses until the next payday. In the event of an unforeseen financial glitch, most have savings or have access to low-cost credit.
For the other half of the workforce – many of whom are concert workers who drive for Uber, Hazlehurst said – the system doesn’t work as well. The occasional financial pothole creates problems that require costly solutions like overdraft fees and payday loans.
It quickly became clear that Uber could no longer ignore the impact this situation had on the fleet of drivers who provide services to the company’s passengers.
Today, Uber launched Uber Silver as a big step towards a solution.
“[Uber] started with weekly payment, we moved on to next day payments using ACH, and about 18 months ago we launched instant payments with Visa and Mastercard with a limit of five instant payments per day, ”noted Hazlehurst . “These instant payments [after] a year and a half now accounts for 70% of driver payments, so it’s clear that drivers want to get paid as quickly as possible.
A good start, he noted, but still room for improvement.
The launch of Uber Money brings a new portfolio of financial services to Uber drivers, including real-time income deposited after every ride into a no-cost Uber-branded debit product with unlimited overdraft protection. Uber Money – a single hub where all financial products and technologies developed by Uber will be developed collectively – intends to bring “additional value to the Uber community” by leveraging the size of the company to create and assemble products that help drivers better manage their financial situation while providing consumers with a more rewarding experience.
Fix the flow of funds
Real-time automated earnings feature for drivers takes care of updates to the Uber Debit account, powered by Green Dot, as well as the integration of the new Uber wallet in the Uber Driver applications. Instead of drivers having to request real-time payment and face a cap on how many they can have per day, all payments are automatically deposited into their Uber Debit account when the job is done. As soon as the customer pays, the driver is paid.
These deposits will automatically sync with the next Uber Wallet, which will be uploaded to the Uber Driver app in the coming weeks, making the account easily accessible. Drivers can more easily track their income, manage cash back rewards, and even pay their bills – all from this single point of contact. Even onboarding and account creation doesn’t require an additional app or login, Hazlehurst said.
Green Dot is Uber’s long-term debit card partner, and a lot of things about the offer remain the same. It’s still a no-charge no-charge account for overdrafts up to $ 100.
“This feature is particularly important for our pilots,” explained Hazlehurst. “Among the 56% of eligible drivers, we saw about 60% using it, on average six or more times per month.
For a driver, he said, it’s about $ 200 a month he would have paid overdraft fees, assuming a $ 35 overdraft fee on a $ 40 gas purchase they may have made in order to provide more rides a day or two before payday.
These new offers are voluntary, noted Hazlehurst. Drivers are not required to use their Uber Debit accounts and can continue to request immediate income transfers to any bank account they choose, although these transfers still incur a 50-cent fee. But, he said, beyond immediate, automatic payment at the end of every ride, the Uber debit card and Uber wallet are intended to bring even more benefits to drivers.
The goal, Hazlehurst explained, is to get every dollar earned through Uber to go further. For example, the new Uber debit card is launched with cash back on gasoline starting at 3% for all drivers and up to 6% for the highest tier of Uber Pro drivers. Plus, while gasoline is the first and most obvious cashback benefit for drivers, it’s not the only one. One of the purported uses of the wallet is to serve as a discovery hub for other driver-focused offerings.
“Watch the space for offers, as we want to see how we can leverage our size and scale more broadly for our drivers – gas, insurance, rent, savings. We imagine going out on behalf of our [four million] drivers and getting great deals that they can’t as individuals, ”noted Hazlehurst.
A truly enriching hub
While the driver’s side is getting the first and most spectacular of upgrades, the consumer side of the platform also offers add-ons. Uber Wallet will start in the Uber Driver app, but will migrate to Uber Eats and Uber’s main app in 2020.
As part of this upgrade, Uber will relaunch the Uber credit card, which will now offer 5% cash back to users in the form of Uber Cash that can be spent on the platform on Uber Eats and JUMP rides, bikes and scooters.
“It’s really about moving the needle to reward our best and most loyal customers with more Uber services, because we want those who use the service the most to get the best rewards possible,” Hazlehurst said of the Uber’s abandonment of general cashback. offer of the previous instantiation of the customer card.
Hazlehurst said that over the past few years Uber has really come to understand that the needs of their drivers and their drivers are not general, and neither is what they find rewarding. Above all, a reward must be adapted to their real needs and improve their journey. Uber Money – and the attempt to bring all of Uber’s financial services together under one accessible umbrella – is yet another extension of that, Hazlehurst told Webster as their conversation ended,
Uber drivers, he noted, drive for Uber because they want flexible control over their working lives. It stands to reason, and is supported by the data, that they would want the same for their financial lives.
“If we can fix the payroll wait issues and give people the money they’ve earned now – and better tools to control it – as far as we see it, that’s a good thing. “Hazlehurst said.