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Exclusive: Ola sets to launch co-branded credit card soon


Fintech is hot and everyone wants a pie of the fledgling segment. While there are plenty of pure-play fintech startups that tend to solve payment and credit access pains for consumer and business sectors, e-commerce biggies including Flipkart and Amazon have also been harbouring lofty aspirations in the segment.

Moving a step ahead than large horizontal e-commerce companies, Ola is also planning to launch a credit card. According to three sources aware of the matter, the SoftBank-backed company would launch a credit card on the lines of Uber.

“Ola wants to take a leaf out of Uber playbook and launch the credit card in the next two-three months,” says two of the aforementioned sources. The sources requested anonymity as they don’t want to harm the ongoing relationship with the Bengaluru-based company.

“The company already has set up an internal team for launching credit product,” adds the third source. While it’s not clear whether Ola would offer standalone card or co-brand with some banks, sources anticipate that it would likely to partner with bank or credit card companies.

Meanwhile, Ola has been giving credit to riders depend upon their profile that factors frequency of rides, payment mode and ratings from driver partners for over two years. The company essentially allows riders to ride first and pay later.

“Adoption of Ola Credit has been increasing since its launch. Millennials including salaried class (fresh hires) and students often use the service when they run out of money. This is the precursor and motivation for Ola to launch credit card,” adds the third source.

Responding to Entrackr‘s query, Ola spokesperson says,”As a policy, we don’t comment on speculations.”

The Bhavish Aggarwal-led company is likely to dish out discounts on purchases such as air tickets, dining at restaurants and cab rides along with other offers. Importantly, the ride-hailing Unicorn is offering premium membership service – Ola Select that offers a host of credit card sort of features, including free lounge access at airports and subsidised upgrade.

With a combination of two separate features Credit and Select, launching credit card appears as a logical step for Ola. Since the company has enough and relevant data points of riders, analysing credit score would be a smooth affair for it.

In the past, online travel majors MakeMyTrip and goibibo had partnered American Express to launch co-branded credit cards. Almost a year ago, Uber had started offering co-branded credit card by partnering Visa in the US. At present, it offers 4 per cent discount on dining, 3 per cent on air tickets and hotels and 2 per cent on online shopping.

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