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What’s Uber up to now? We asked Jeff Coles, Director of the Center for the Digital Future.

Uber introduced a credit card on October 25th that will allow its users to earn cash back, gift cards and, of course, Uber credits. Getting the card is easy. Through the app, customers can get a credit check within minutes,  and once approved, can access it right away.

Is Uber a car or data company?
Ultimately, Uber is a data company that gets its data by running a transportation service just as Amazon get its data by selling products.

Is the Uber credit card a loyalty device or a customer tracking tool? Is there a difference?
Almost all credit cards are customer tracking and profiling services so there few differences except the additional fees from providing credit services.

Given Uber’s well documented problems on both management and operations, how well do you think a credit card would do?
I don’t think Uber’s problems will get in the way of a credit card. People choose cards, rarely because of the reputation of non-traditional issues, but rather for its competitive advantage over other cards (fees, points, rebates, etc.).

How will a credit card help Uber with its data capture? Will the company monetize that data?
It can monetize data itself or in cooperation with other partners. It also allows it to better refine and improve its core mission, transportation.

With the arrival of the driverless car and Uber’s plans to use them, will the marketing industry be able to recover from the death of the car and car dealerships?
Car manufacturers would be happy to see dealerships go away. Driverless cars should create as many or more opportunities as are lost.