Uber is making a fintech push with a New York hiring spree

CNBC | Kate Rooney and Hugh Son | June 10, 2019

MoDara Khosrowshahi CEO uber tech - Uber is making a fintech push with a New York hiring spreebility giant Uber is looking to accelerate the creation of financial products with a new fintech outpost in New York, according to people with knowledge of the plan.

The ride-hailing company is aiming to hire several dozen engineers and product managers this year, and the New York team could eventually exceed 100 workers, said the people, who declined to be identified speaking about Uber’s plans.

Uber, fresh from its IPO last month, is looking to tap New York’s talent pool, which is deeper when it comes to fintech and bank workers than its hometown of San Francisco. By building out its financial ecosystem, the company can increase its lead over rivals like Lyft. The efforts are likely to be focused on ways to increase engagement and loyalty to the Uber platform, according to people who attended a recruitment event earlier this year.

Payments chief Peter Hazlehurst and top engineer Johnie Lee spoke at the event, held at Uber’s New York offices, the people said.

There are many possible payment and lending innovations Uber could come up with: It has 93 million active users globally, most of whom use linked credit cards or fund a wallet called Uber Cash to pay for rides and food delivery.

The two major areas being looked at by its financial products team involve building “payment experiences” that encourage riders and eaters to use Uber or remove costs from the system, and helping contractors manage the funds they earn, according to a job posting.

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That’s in line with products Uber has already released, like Uber Cash, which includes discounts when a user funds the wallet, its loyalty program Uber Rewards, and its co-branded credit card. On the other side of the service, Uber allows drivers to get paid as often as five times a day instead of waiting for weekly paychecks.

A more radical possibility is an Uber bank account, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Creating a bank account has been discussed at a high level at Uber but may be years away, or the company could decide against it, this person said. Uber relies heavily on the banking system to get paid and pay drivers, and it could potentially cut out middlemen with its own bank.

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