Uber launches new app and digital wallet in Brazil

The company is making additional investments to increase penetration in its second largest market.

Uber has announced a series of new offerings aimed at further increasing its foothold in Brazil at an event in São Paulo yesterday (26).

For the company's second largest market - Uber has more than 22 million users and 500,000 drivers in Brazil - the mobility firm has launched Uber Lite, a 5MB app aimed at Android-based smartphone users with technology from 2014 onwards and slower mobile connections.

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"In Brazil, where the growth of the platform is more pronounced in metropolitan areas of the capitals, Uber Lite will bring even more possibilities for people to move around," says Manik Gupta, product vice president at Uber.

The company has also launched Uber Cash, a digital wallet aimed at the unbanked, which allows credit to be added in advance through the purchase of prepaid cards at high street retailers nationwide. The app, which can also be used with debit or credit cards, allows users to pay for trips or meals on Uber Eats.

"We want everyone in Brazil to have access to Uber, so we need to accept more and more forms of payment, but we want the experience to be even easier than it is today," says Rob Daniel, the company's director of financial products.

In addition, the company announced that it is due to launch a new version of Uber Pool in Brazil, which suggests a meeting point for the passenger and driver, reducing the cost of trips to passengers by up to 30 percent. The company has also announced a partnership with fintech Zen Finance for micro lending aimed at drivers wanting to adapt their vehicles to use compressed natural gas as a cheaper fuel alternative.

The announcements follow last month's news that Uber will invest 250 million reais ($61 million) over the next five years in a new Brazil-based technology development center focused on security products. The center will focus on the application of real-time data processing, advanced telematics, machine learning and mobile development, among other technologies.