Why companies like Uber give Credit Cards?


The simple answer is... Data

You have been using your airline issued credit card for the past few years because it gives you back free miles. However you dont use it just to purchase tickets for yourself, maybe you used it for your aunt to come visit or you use it daily for your groceries because who does not want free miles, right?

Well they are not exactly free and this is not because CC have interest rates, people unless they are in debt tend to pay them immediately thus gaining the perks and losing the costs.

What ends up happening is that these companies now have ownership of your purchasing history.

They know what orange juice you buy, if you just bought a pregnancy test, or which restaurant you visit often.

Some may ask, what is the value of all this? 🤔

Knowledge is power and this kind of knowledge can show market trends that without this sourcing of information would not be possible.

Nick from ProductHunt wrote a similar article about Uber Card and gave this descriptive paragraph:

This new spending data will allow them to not only see where you go every day, but what you do once you arrive. Uber will be able to watch various neighborhoods travel into Chinatown for dinner, or into The Mission for al pastor tacos and drinks next door. They’ll know exactly which coffee and dessert places are popular with each demographic. They’ll know exactly which restaurants in every neighborhood get you to spend far too much on pizza, locally-brewed IPAs, and fries dipped in chipotle aioli.

The full article can be found here

However this is not the case only for consumer data.

The same exact principles can be ported into the business world. There has been recently a boom in freight related startups trying to take over different sectors.
Naval transportation, land, pricing quotes etc.

Each of those are governed by the power of information. Recently we had an inquiry of locating such datasets and hardly to our surprise such data are kept confidential or sold for vast amounts of fiat currency.

But...

These companies try to protect their IP but not making it easier for smaller companies to grow or at least making it less easy for them to start and this is within the rules of healthy competitive markets, but...

Let us examine the land transportation sector.

  • Most of the times the driver would have his own personal phone with him.
  • Most of the times the driver would use one of the popular email providers.
  • Most of the time he will browser different social media during his trips or even take pictures.
  • Transportation drivers (heavy duty) is a high demand market.

In this breakdown we see the usage of potentially many (if not all) services:
Gmail, Android/iOS, Facebook, whatsapp, instagram, twitter, google search

This means that there is a high probability that these companies can identify the route of the driver from Point A to Point B.

If one day Google or Facebook or Y Company decides to get into a similar business, they might not have the upfront business knowledge but they would have the data to train on.

Healthy exchange of market data

This leads us to healthy exchange of market data. By no means should a company just sell their secrets or algorithms for short term gains, the understanding that the data being gathered even as a by-product could be useful for another company needs to become apparent and integrated into the monetization plans.