A recent Quartz (qz.com) article identified that up to 30% of Uber drivers in the US have never had a bank account — many operated previously as taxi drivers in the cash economy. To be a driver on Uber, however, they need a minimum of a debit card to get paid. So Uber has had to solve this problem by allowing drivers to sign up for a bank account as part of the Uber driver application process, in real-time. Unsurprisingly, this makes Uber the largest acquirer of small business bank accounts in the United States today, bigger than Wells, BofA and Chase combined.
You probably never thought of Uber as an acquirer of small business bank accounts, but if you’re an Uber driver and Uber can give you a debit card that enables you to get paid — then why would you go to a bank branch to open an account instead? It also means that as a entrepreneur bank account the next obvious move is to design day-to-day banking into Uber’s app instead of standing alone as a typical bank account or mobile banking app.
For the millions of permalancers or gigging economy workers, it’s highly likely that the first time a freelancer opens a bank account will be directly in response to a new ‘gig’ or job offer — if that employer (like Uber or AirBnB) offers you a bank account as part of the sign-up process, why would you stop signing up for Uber, drive to a branch and sign a piece of paper?
Uber is offering car leases to its drivers also — allowing drivers with no vehicle to sign up and get car financing backed by demand from Uber. This is what the new banking experience looks like for small business entrepreneurs. Uber is effectively doing all the sourcing for bank relationships, and has become an acquirer for bank accounts, leasing and insurance. An Uber driver has no reason to come to a bank branch for his needs today thanks to Uber’s commitment to experience design simply enabling the needs of a new driver.