Blog authors are Gavin Serkin, the Editorial Director for OnFrontiers and the Founder and Managing Editor of the Frontier Funds Consultancy, and Stacey Mattish.
Next time you take an Uber, think about how much information you’ve just given – about where you live or work, how often you take the same route, whether you’ll stretch to UberX or opt for a pooled service.
For drivers, even more useful data is being gathered. For many, particularly in Africa, Uber’s databank contains the first formal record of regular income.
“I’ll talk first to what we’re doing to the driver-partner side, because this is live.
A huge challenge we’ve seen across the continent is that access to capital remains a barrier to individuals who are looking to start their own businesses. So, drivers, looking to drive on the platform, may not be able to qualify for credit to purchase a vehicle. We’ve got partnerships live in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria where, on the back of a driver-partner’s track record on the Uber platform – the number of trips that he or she has completed, his or her rating, as well as his or her earnings over an extended period of time – that driver-partner can then take that information and share that with a financial institution.
They can share that information with a credit institution, which is now not looking at a traditional credit record. They’re almost looking at an Uber credit rating or Uber score card, and making a decision on whether to provide capital, and then whether that’s through a regular maintenance-free direct loan on the back of that credit rating.
So we see that as being hugely powerful. If we take it one step further, we’re seeing that there are a large number of people using cash to take rides on Uber every day. We’re starting to build a track record for these individuals: are they paying for their trips, do they ever not pay, etc.
After a point in time, do we ever reach a world where these individuals can reach credit for rides on the platform, or just credit generally? I think we may, and that’s really exciting.
That’s something we’re working on. I’d like to hope that we’d be there by the end of the year.
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Featured image by freestocks.org.