Fintech Payments UX

Capital One partners with Uber for discounted rides

Uber – always check the small print! Photo: Uber
Written by Jim Bruene

Jim Bruene get some Capital One/Uber small print off his chest as he analyses a recent US marketing promotion between the two companies.

This week, Capital One launched a national marketing promotion with Uber that provides a 20% rebate on rides for one year. Unlike many (most?) card offers, it’s good for new and existing Capital One customers. However, it applies only to the bank’s Quicksilver cash-back card, so I’m out of luck with my Capital One Venture card.

Yet, it did throw us non-Quicksilver customers a bone yesterday with an email (see below) offering two free Uber rides (up to $30 each). For me, that’s probably about the same as the 20% rebate, so I was ready to fire up the app and swap out my Bank of America card. But wait, there’s that pesky fine print again. It turns out the free rides are only for new Uber customers. Out of luck again.

Capital One & Uber – check the small print.

Free rides for new Uber users

Overall, this is a great promotion. The bank gets new cardholders plus a pile of Capital One cards stored in Uber’s app, a great retention tool (the primary goal?) along with a long-term revenue stream (albeit not enough to recoup the cost of the 20% rebates, unless Uber is picking up a big chunk of the rebate).

The only thing I don’t like is the disingenuous email to non-Quicksilver customers. Capital One alludes to the fact that the free rides are for new Uber users (see highlighted body copy in screenshot above), but this statement is easy to overlook or misinterpret. It’s only when you get to the tiny type below, which is further hidden on a grey background, that the ‘new Uber customer requirement is explicitly stated.

Why not just come out and say it clearly in the body of the email (or even in the subject line)? Existing Uber customers are going to find out anyway when they try to redeem. Just be clear up-front and save everyone the hassle! Better yet, don’t send the email to cardholders who are already using Uber (that could have been determined with an email match for me).

Final thought: Why not provide all cardholders an incentive to enter any Capital One card into the Uber app? For rewards cardholders, remind them they can pay for their Uber rides with points (eg Purchase Eraser). Or how about a sweeps? For example, one out of every 100 rides (or 1,000) are free to Capital One cardholders until 30 May. That could be funded through interchange alone.

This article is reproduced with kind permission. Some minor changes have been made to reflect BankNXT style considerations. You can read the original article here.

About the author

Jim Bruene

Jim Bruene is writer of the Online Banking Report and organiser of the Finovate conference series. He has provided insightful analysis and research of the online banking and finance industry for more than 15 years. Prior to founding his company, he led the development of US Bancorp’s pioneering online banking program with Microsoft Money.

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