Gig Economy Fintech Player Arrives in MexicoBy Andrea Villar | Thu, 11/26/2020 - 05:00
Q: How does the DiDi Pay solution work?
A: We developed DiDi Pay over the last year and a half with the participation of VISA and Unipagos as tech partners. It is a debit card and mobile banking application for all drivers in our platform. We are doing some tests to expand it to DiDi Food delivery couriers and restaurants. To date, between drivers and couriers, we have about 100,000 people who collaborate with the platform. Several months ago, we started beta testing the product and now we have more than 9,000 active users on DiDi Pay, in cities like Guadalajara, Monterrey, Toluca, Puebla, Culiacan and Mazatlan.
Q: How will this solution help drivers to better control their finances and improve their quality of life?
A: This product was born from a study we made of our drivers' habits. When analyzing their daily behavior, we observed that it is often necessary for them to have faster access to the earnings generated through their trips. We decided that the best way to move forward would be to provide those earnings every eight hours instead of weekly.
Moreover, we have noticed that it is difficult for drivers to plan for expenses such as fuel. There are cities where users do not receive many cash trips and, therefore, they need to collect the money more quickly. Likewise, by receiving payment for their trips this way, it will not be necessary for the drivers to accept as many cash trips, which translates into greater security for them.
Q: How will you help drivers make this transition?
A: Initially, we had the impression that the drivers were used to handling cash and the transition would not be easy. We also had the feeling that we were developing a product that was not going to meet the needs of the driver. When we launched the beta test version, however, we discovered that this solution was something they needed. Many of them use the card more than the average in the market. This was a sign that we were delivering value for them and also, we realized that most of the transactions applied to DiDi-related services, such as fuel, auto parts or convenience stores.
We do not want to force drivers to have this product. We are developing it to give them a benefit and how long they use DiDi Pay depends a lot on the reaction of the market. The truth is that so far, we have seen outstanding results.
Q: Is this the first step to then start offering this solution to all DiDi users?
A: Our focus now is on drivers. Those areas are where we feel we can deliver the most value and where the market is not saturated. Today, there is a wide variety of options for end users. We do not want to focus on competing with other fintechs out there or the banks that are going digital and targeting a sector of society that is already banked.
Q: What are the challenges of banking the whole DiDi community?
A: Understanding what makes your product different is key. Today, many fintech cards on the market are very good and offer an incredible user experience. But it is increasingly difficult to find a differentiator between them. In Mexico, for example, many fintech cards are starting to add investment features to provide an added value. For me, what may be more attractive to the end user is to offer something that is all-embracing, meaning a single solution with comprehensive solutions.
Q: What partnerships is DiDi Pay looking for to improve its solution in the short and medium term?
A: We are working on several partnerships that we hope will come to fruition by the end of this year and in early 2021. Our partners are reliable; that is what we are looking for. Meeting deadlines is essential so our drivers do not have bad experiences. Sometimes it is very easy to ally with the big players, but we are looking for someone who moves at our same speed. Being a startup, we move very fast and finding that in a tech partner was complicated at first.
In return, we offer our partners larger and more stable sales volumes. One example is fuel. By allying ourselves with gas stations, we constantly increase their volume of customers because it is a daily need for drivers.
Q: What factors played into DiDi’s decision to launch this service in Mexico?
A: This is a project with a broader vision. In Brazil, for example, the project has been running for a long time. Mexico, however, was the country where we decided to expand this solution because it was also the first country outside of China where DiDi launched its ride-hailing service. DiDi Pay is learning from DiDi Rides' experience in Mexico after the more than two years the latter has been operating in the country.
The region presents many opportunities. Mexico is a country where banking is a major issue and is developing at an accelerated pace due to the pandemic. The opportunity was already there but the situation we are experiencing made it clear that it was time to enter the market.
DiDi Pay is a digital solution through which drivers registered on the Chinese ride-hailing platform receive their income three times a day, ending the previous weekly scheme