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Uber Local Offers debuts, drives local business sales

Uber and Visa have launched Uber Local Offers, a new rewards program that lets riders earn points towards free Uber rides when they use a Visa card to buy from local businesses.

The program has been rolled out initially to riders in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Users can earn one point for every dollar spent with participating merchants simply by making purchases with a Visa card linked to their Uber account. Points are tallied directly in the app. For every 100 points, users receive US$10 off a future Uber ride.

Any merchant that accepts Visa can technically sign up for the program. Participating merchants are then visible to nearby riders under the new “Local Offers” tab in the latest version of the Uber app.

“We’ve built Local Offers right into the Uber app, making it a one stop shop for riders to see our curated list of places and track progress towards free rides,” said Drew Quinn, product manager at Uber. “We’re excited to partner with Visa to help riders get even more out of their experience shopping and dining at the places they love, and the local favourites they’ve yet to try.”

The system is powered by Visa’s Commerce Network, an offers and loyalty platform that works by connecting transactions between two merchants. The platform applies rewards from qualifying purchases directly to cardholder accounts, eliminating the need for coupons or redemption schemes.

As Visa pointed out, there is already a strong connection between its cardholders who use Uber and local businesses. According to the company’s own statistics, Visa cardholders in the US spent US$2 billion at local businesses soon after getting out of an Uber from July 2015 to June 2016.

The aim of Uber Local Offers is to help merchants acquire new customers, drive sales and increase loyalty.

Some initial participating businesses in Los Angeles and San Francisco include Barcito, Delarosa, Ike’s, Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, Mixt Greens, Peet’s Coffee, PizzaRev, Specialty’s Café & Bakery, Super Duper, The Pie Hole, Uno Dos Tacos, Veggie Grill, and Wurstküche.

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