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Uber sets up 100-member team for Uber Money in India

Besides engineering, Uber is investing in transforming the Hyderabad center into a full spectrum tech site.

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SoftBank-backed American ride-hailing giant Uber is betting big on the Indian engineering team for taking forward its global financial products for riders and drivers.

The company has set up a team of over 100 technologists “in the front-end, full-stack, mobile, machine learning, and data engineering” in the South Indian city of Hyderabad, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

The team is already working on “implementing new payment methods, enabling and building financial compliance tools, leveraging smart routing technologies for payment gateways, and applying Uber Artificial Intelligence models for intelligent risk decision,” it added.

The Hyderabad-based team is expected to play “an essential role in enabling upcoming new global features and improvements, including real-time earnings, updated debit accounts, and debit cards for Uber drivers, along with Uber Wallet and refreshed Uber credit card for Uber riders.”

Besides Hyderabad, the Uber Money team also has a presence at its San Francisco, Palo Alto, New York, and Amsterdam technology centers. “We are rapidly hiring and growing this team for global financial products and technology innovations,” the company said.

Uber had set up its engineering center in Hyderabad in 2014 to build software products and platforms, barely a year after the company entered the South Asian nation.

“Besides engineering, we are investing in growing and scaling data science, analytics, and product management organizations to transform Hyderabad into a full spectrum tech site for Uber,” Uber India engineering director and Hyderabad site lead, Naga Kasu told wire service IANS.

In October 2019, the San Francisco-headquartered company created a new team, Uber Money, to work on financial products and technologies that would bring “additional value for the Uber community.”

With Uber Money, the company said, its driver-partners would get real-time access to their earnings after every trip or delivery through the Uber debit account, instead of weekly payments or cashing out with Instant Pay, a service which allows people in the US to withdraw instantly. The service was first expected to launch in the US, before going to global markets.

At the time, the company said, Uber Wallet would start rolling out soon in the Uber Driver app, as well as the customer-facing app and Uber Eats app. The intention was to allow users to easily track their earning and spending history, manage and move their money, and discover new Uber financial products, all in one place.

Currently, the Uber Money team is working on financial products such as Uber’s credit card, debit card, and wallet for drivers. According to a TechCrunch report, the team also takes care of Uber Pay, Uber Cash, and other financial products that Uber may deploy down the road.

Local media Moneycontrol reported in November 2019 that India will be amongst the first six countries where Uber Money would be launched within eight months. The report said, in India, Uber Money would be based on government-backed UPI-based (Unified Payment Interface) real-time payment system, hoping to foster better financial inclusion amongst its drivers.

Uber’s homegrown rival in India, Ola, has been offering Ola Money, a payment instrument, for the last four and a half years. It is open to third-party services and allows users to recharge their mobile phones and send money to friends and family. On the driver-partner side, as per local media reports and industry observers, most of the Ola drivers have been reluctant to receive payments through Ola Money due to late payment issues.