Uber and Barclays team up to compete in U.S. card rewards war

(Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc and a unit of Barclays plc are teaming up to offer a rewards-enriched credit card in the United States through the ride-service company’s mobile phone app.

FILE PHOTO: An Uber sign is seen in a car in New York, U.S. June 30, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

Uber and bank officials said on Wednesday the card will be free and offer a $ 100 starting bonus, plus an annual $ 50 credit on digital subscription services, such as Netflix. It would also offer cash back on spending, including 4 percent for dining, 3 percent for airfare and 2 percent for Uber rides and many other online transactions.

Curt Hess, chief executive officer of Barclaycard US, said the Uber card spending rewards were set high to attract customers and encourage them to favor it ahead of other cards that they may have.

“Given that it is no-fee, it has some of the best reward points out there,” said Hess.

Barclays’ Uber offer is another gambit in the post-financial crisis bidding between credit card issuers for customers who will bring in transaction fees from merchants and pay to borrow at interest rates upwards of 15 percent.

Citigroup Inc, for example, has attracted customers with its no-fee Double Cash card which pays 2 percent back on all purchases. And, JPMorgan Chase & Co has challenged American Express Co for people willing to lay out annual fees of $ 450 or more in exchange for rich rewards and travel perks.

FILE PHOTO – A Barclays bank building is seen at Canary Wharf in London, Britain May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/File Photo

With the Uber deal, Barclays gets to pitch directly to potential new card customers using the ride service app.

Hess said he expected the offers to be more effective than sending promotions through the mail and asking people to fill out applications with basic information that they have already put into the Uber app.

Uber will not offset Barclays’ costs to attract customers, Hess said.

Barclays is the ninth biggest card issuer in the United States by spending volume and outstanding balances, according to The Nilson Report.

The card is first under the Uber name. It comes out on Nov. 2.

Judy Zhu, an Uber business development executive, said the card was a way to encourage customers to use Uber for more than rides.

“We are really starting to think about how to connect Uber to the things you are doing before and after riding,” Zhu said.

Reporting by David Henry in New York

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Tech

Samsung says new U.S. offices are its ‘biggest investment in Silicon Valley’ to date

samsung-new-office-silicon-valley

Samsung officially opened the doors to its new 1.1-million-square-foot Silicon Valley offices Thursday, more than 30 years after its arrival in the San Jose tech corridor in 1983.

The building will house various research labs dedicated to semiconductors, LEDs and displays, staff in sales and marketing, and other support areas, the company said.

“[We are] laying the groundwork for a more aggressive pace of growth over the next several decades,” said Samsung’s chief executive, Dr. Oh-Hyun Kwon, at the grand opening ceremony.

Meanwhile, the company’s president of its U.S.-based device solutions operations, Jaesoo Han, said that the move “represents a major milestone as we open our most strategically important Samsung facility in the U.S., and also our biggest investment in Silicon Valley.”

samsung-office

Samsung also said that it has established a $ 1 million STEM College Education Scholarship Fund. In its own words:

Deserving university students who are currently enrolled in STEM-focused programs at a California State or University of California school will benefit from this program, beginning with a $ 50,000 gift to San Jose State University this year. Each scholarship will cover tuition and living expenses for one year.

But the announcement of the new office has been largely overshadowed by news in virtual reality today: we reported that the Samsung Gear VR will launch as a consumer product this November for $ 99. (You can also read our roundup from that event here.)

Earlier this week, Samsung unveiled its new fonts-inspired Serif TVs, and shared more about how it relies on startups to stay ahead on technological innovation.

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