Why GoBank's new card demands a PIN at the pump for Uber drivers
A new cobranded Uber debit card from Green Dot’s GoBank unit gives drivers 3% cash back if they choose PIN entry when filling their tanks at ExxonMobil stations, affirming the persistence of PINs in an increasingly digital payments environment.
The Uber Visa Debit card is configured so drivers may select the debit option and enter the card’s four-digit PIN at the pump to get cash back for gasoline purchases with the card, according to a Tuesday press release. The card offers discounts on a range of other retailers’ services, with no requirement to enter a PIN.
The idea of a perk that requires a PIN is somewhat less common in a world where more merchants are leaning toward streamlined payments requiring no PIN or signature—and as of April 15 signatures are no longer required for card purchases in North America.
“We’re seeing PIN-less transactions with more regularity, particularly with big-box stores and QSRs where throughput at the point of sale is key,” said Sarah Grotta, director of debit and alternative products at Mercator Advisory Group.
GoBank clearly has a few good reasons to push the PIN option, however.
“Giving 3% cash back on a debit card is a rich reward and I expect this is being funded by ExxonMobil to attract the loyalty of Uber users,” Grotta said. If that’s the case, ExxonMobil would aim to keep its processing costs at rock bottom by routing the Uber debit card transactions through an EFT or PIN-debit network, she noted.
Issuers and merchants also benefit from improved card security when PINs are required because the process deters fraud from lost and stolen cards, said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the U.S. Payments Forum.
While most issuers are loath to introduce any extra steps to consumers’ routines that would slow down or divert the payment to another card, GoBank should know the audience for this card well. Two years ago it introduced the Uber GoBank checking account and debit card, followed soon after by free instant payments to that account up to five times a day, underscoring some drivers’ immediate needs for liquidity.
The Uber drivers GoBank is targeting should have little resistance to using a PIN to get a solid perk on gas purchases, because consumers have demonstrated their flexibility in entering a PIN when required, Grotta said.
“PINs are often requested for higher-dollar purchase or transactions considered to be higher risk, and in the current environment, the consumer has no idea what will be expected of them at the point of sale with a debit card,” Grotta said.
GoBank’s latest debit card offers a range of other discounts, including 15% off on some services at Jiffy Lube, 10% cash back on car parts at Advance Auto Parts, 8% cash back for Sprint bill payments and 2% back on all Walmart purchases.