Payments UX

How Uber and Capital One embedded loyalty into the customer experience

How Uber and Capital One embedded loyalty into the customer experience. Photo: Adam Isfendiyar,
Written by JP Nicols

JP Nicols talks to Lauren Liss from Capital One about loyalty, payment experiences and leveraging Uber.

This is the last of my special Invested in Tech series with Capital One, where I’ve been taking a look behind the scenes at how it’s using technology, innovation and design to create a better banking experience. In my last post, I spoke to Naveed Anwar, who runs Capital One’s developer community partnerships and integrations, and he talked about their unique partnership with Uber.

It’s become well-worn trope in fintech punditry to declare such and such an app or company as the “Uber of banking”, presumably meaning that it’s a seamless customer and payment experience and something with massive growth potential. When I speak at banking conferences, I often ask for a show of hands for how many people use Uber as a way of demonstrating the rapid growth of disruptive technology. A majority of hands always go up, and it’s easily in the 80-90% range in any major urban area.

I tell the audience that they would have called me crazy if I would have told them five years ago that instead of standing at the curb with their hand in the air, they would soon tap a button on their smartphone to geolocate a nearby car, and then simply exit the car at the end of the ride. I also tell them that they may think I’m crazy now for telling them that, soon, that car won’t have a driver behind the wheel, but Uber is already working on it.

This on-demand, seamless delivery is raising the bar for customer expectations in banking, and so is the Uber payment experience. To me, the best part of the Uber payment experience is that there isn’t one. I don’t want a payment experience, I want a ride from point A to point B. It’s a great example of the “disappearance of payments” that payments expert Ginger Schmeltzer talked about at the Fintech Stage at the BAI Beacon conference in Chicago last month.

The best part about the Uber payment experience is that there isn't one Click To Tweet

How can a bank improve on that?

Lauren Liss, senior director of digital partnerships, card, at Capital One, gave me a deeper look at how the bank is working with Uber to simplify life for their customers. In June 2016, it announced a partnership to create Uber’s first ever in-app loyalty experience: every 10th Uber ride was free when customers paid with a Quicksilver or QuicksilverOne card, through March 2017. Then, earlier this month, two companies announced they were evolving the offer to make it even more valuable for customers. As of 1 November 2016, customers get $15 in Uber credits – instead of a free ride (valued at up to $15) – every time they pay for nine rides with a Quicksilver card through 31 March 2017. Unlike the previously earned free ride tokens, the $15 Uber credits can be used on multiple rides at any time through 30 April 2017.

The two companies have worked together since April 2015, and Liss says the relationship makes sense because of their shared focus on providing savings and convenience.

To me, the best part about our partnership with Uber is that we’re able to create experiences for our customers that are simple and help them save,” says Liss. “This year, we’ve created – and improved on – a valuable offer that comes with a clean user experience, created based on customer feedback.

Liss says her team is focused on creating solutions that simplify life for their customers, so embedding a loyalty experience into the Uber app – and then improving on it – helps deliver on those goals.

For more on how technology, innovation and design are being leveraged to create a better banking experience, read my related interviews and listen to my podcasts with:

READ NEXT: What the premium finance industry can learn from Uber’s model

– This article is reproduced with kind permission. Some minor changes have been made to reflect BankNXT style considerations. Read more here. Photo: Adam Isfendiyar,

About the author

JP Nicols

JP Nicols has been internationally recognized as a leading voice for innovation, strategy and leadership, and his work has been featured in some of the industry’s top publications and conferences.A former senior bank executive, he is Managing Director of the FinTech Forge, and founder of the Bank Innovators Council which is now a part of Next Money, a global community committed to reinventing financial services through design, innovation and entrepreneurship.