A couple of years ago Jose Fernando da Silva lost his job and wanted to become a driver for a ride-sharing company but he didn’t have a bank account to receive his earnings. He’s not alone in that: tens of millions in Brazil who don’t use formal banking.
CGTN’s Paulo Cabral reports.
This reality prompted Chinese firm Didi Chuxing to launch a payment card for drivers to get people like Jose to join their local app, 99.
“I decided not to open an account because there are many bank fees to be paid besides the fee to the app itself. In the end, I would end up getting less money for my work”, said Jose Fernando da Silva.
Passenger fares are paid directly to the driver’s card within one hour of a trip and the money can be used immediately to make purchases or pay bills. Offering financial services for drivers was a move by Didi Chuxing aiming to gain market share in a competitive ride-sharing sector in Brazil.
Didi’s 99 and Uber are the two key players in Brazil – also served by some other smaller companies. Both claim about 600 thousand drivers – but Uber reports 22 million customers while Didi’s 99 says it has 18 million.
“The competitor is very strong, to be honest. They are a respectable player in this industry but we truly believe we can offer better solutions and we can win in the long run. One example of local innovation is the 99Card”, Didi Chuxing Director in Brazil Didi Simeng Wang.
“We know that our drivers they need a really fast cash flow to pay the gas to work, to make groceries, to pay their bills. The 99Card is always mentioned when we make surveys asking them what’s the true differential of Didi.”
Didi’s partner in the 99Card – Mastercard – says working with people outside the banking system opens a large market in developing countries like Brazil.
“This partnership between Didi and Mastercard is innovative because it allows for the financial inclusion of millions of people who do not have access to the banking system. In Brazil there are 60 million people who do not have bank accounts”, Mastercard Latin America Business Development Vice-president, Paulo Frossard said.
Brazil is the world’s largest market for Didi outside China. And the company claims to have ambitious plans and innovative ideas to further strengthen its position in this key Latin American economy.