Ride-hailing app Uber is partnering with MasterCard and Mexico’s first online bank, Bankaool, to launch its own debit cards.
The move is aimed at getting more people to use Uber in Mexico, where some card providers do not let customers use their cards be e-commerce or online payments.
The “UberCard,” which carried Uber’s branding, is linked to a bank account provided by Bankaool. Customers who get the card will get their first Uber ride using it free, up to $100.
However, the debit card can be used anywhere that accepts MasterCard, not just for Uber.
Francisco Sordo, Head of Uber for Mexico and Central America, says in an emailed statement: “We are very excited to being able to offer safe, reliable and affordable rides to more people with this new card, which will be available for all Mexicans.”
Uber launched in Mexico in 2013 and is active in 31 cities across the country.
Bankaool was founded in 2003 but only began offering 100% online bank accounts in 2014. The bank has 65,000 customers, according to the Fintech Times, and offers savings and investment products alongside current accounts.
Francisco Meré, CEO of Bankaool, says in an emailed statement: “For us, this partnership represents an excellent example how a fintech bank, with its open IT architecture, working with a technology company can bring innovative and disruptive solutions to a wider segment of the population in the different markets.”
While it might seem like an odd deal at first, it makes a lot of sense for both Bankaool and Uber.
For Bankaool, the fledgling online banks gets to benefit from the huge reach and marketing spend of a multibillion dollar tech giant, hopefully hoovering up lots of new customers in the process.
For Uber, Bankaool’s technology allows it to tap a new segment of the market it hasn’t been able to up until now. The fact that the cards are branded with Uber’s logo also means that anyone who signs up is effectively carrying around an advert for the app in their wallet.
It’s not the first time Uber has partnered with finance companies. The company has multiple deals with car financing deals to help potential drivers get hold of cars and Uber partnered with online wealth manager Betterment in August to help drivers with their savings and investments.