Why Doesn’t Your Bank Know You Use Uber?

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / bogdanbrasoveanuHave you ever received a piece of mail from your bank offering something completely irrelevant, like a home loan just months after you’ve bought a house?

You’d think this would be a thing of the past with the data banks have access to, but it’s still happening in the digital age. JPMorgan Chase sent an email recently offering users rewards for using Uber — essentially paying users to load their Chase-branded cards into the popular rideshare service. Capital One and other banks have made similar plays in the recent past.

Every bank wants their card in Uber, because of the “set it and forget it” dynamic — users are unlikely to do a lot of card switching after entering them. Apple Pay has a similar dynamic. So do restaurant-ordering apps — basically, anywhere you have to enroll your card up front to simplify payment later.

Bradley Leimer, head of fintech strategy for Santander U.S. Innovation, received the Chase email and wondered why the bank didn’t already know he used Uber, which is a very fair question.

The implication here is that Leimer has a non-Chase card in Uber, but that Chase would know that if, as with Moven following its latest update, the bank offered account aggregation. Moven achieves this through an integration with Yodlee, which uses APIs for the larger banks, and screens-scraping for the smaller banks, Bob Savino, chief technology officer at Moven, told Bank Innovation.

Assuming enough users add their additional accounts, Moven will begin amassing an enviable data set. It does this in order to better help manage a customer’s cash flow, which needs as broad a window as they can get, given the number of payment instruments used today.

Leimer also points out that the offer could work for more people, if it was about existing Uber users switching cards, but the offer seems to specify it is for new Uber users only.

Certainly the big banks could do what Moven is doing, and avoid irrelevant emails (especially to Bradley Leimer, sheesh!) Telling users about a service they already use, simply shows customers you don’t know them well enough.

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