Uber today said its India-based Risk Product and Engineering team has enhanced its state-of-the-art framework to verify genuine users on the Uber platform without compromising on their app experience.
The primary goal of the framework is to enhance platform security by proactively identifying and stopping potentially malicious activity, all while ensuring that genuine users are not inconvenienced. Oftentimes, genuine users find themselves unintentionally blocked by these security measures, even though the intention is to make the platform safer for them.
The 'challenge framework', based on a rule engine, helps identify users with malicious intent swiftly, thereby increasing security on the platform for millions of people transacting on it by the day. The challenges are self-resolvable verification processes taken while a user tries to transact on the platform - book a trip or place an order. Through these simple challenges, Uber has been able to keep fraudulent activities at bay while letting genuine users have a seamless trip or order experience.
The intervention resulted in an incremental 3.5 million trips and orders within 2023, by allowing over 600,000 riders, eaters and merchants to get their accounts unblocked through simple challenges.
Keeping challenges easy, in the form of card scans, address verification, verifying CVV codes, makes sure genuine users don't get impacted by harsher actions such as account bans even as malicious booking attempts are blocked. Additionally, this team also enriched the framework to present contextual information to users along with challenges and other self-resolvable options enabling them to proceed with their trip or order. To strengthen this framework further, the team also built feedback loops as a way to continuously learn and improve from these user interactions.
Commenting on the framework, Deepak Kumar, Head of Risk Engineering, Uber India, said, "Our intent is to find the perfect balance between making the platform safer and improving the trip or order experience for all our genuine users across the world, by making the app easier to use. The latest upgrades to the engine made by the India teams do exactly that, and are a fine example of the immense tech talent housed here."
In order to roll out these challenges across geographies, Uber ran an A/B testing exercise to replace harsher actions (example: denying a trip or order) with easy 'challenges' to help users verify their payment methods, and continue to use the platform. The aim of this exercise was to reduce the complications for users when it comes to verifying their transactions, and measure the increase in engagement as a result. These experiments resulted in an improved app experience, which translated into a rise in trips/orders for over 50% for the users who were part of the experiment.
This verification feature is now being rolled out to Uber users globally, including riders, eaters, merchants and earners.
The development process was worked on by a team of engineers, data scientists, product and program managers, all based out of India. India houses the two largest tech centers for Uber outside the US, and is responsible for some of the leading global innovations in ridesharing, freight and food delivery.