Does Uber Accept Cash?

Can I pay Uber with Cash?Does Uber accept cash? Not in U.S., but bring along some cash to tip.

Uber accepts cash payments in a limited number of markets, including Brazil, South Africa, Singapore and India, but generally not in the United States, Canada and Australia.

Cashless Rides Are a Feature

Uber’s goal at the beginning was to be a cashless system. Remember, they were aiming to disrupt the taxi industry starting in the United States. Taxis, even at the start of the 21st Century, did not have reliable electronic payment systems. Often drivers would claim their system was down in order to get paid in cash.

For Uber, cashless is a selling point, and it is beautiful. The car stops; the passenger exits; trip done.

Important Safety Concern–Don’t Accept Off-Platform Ride

Even in countries that accept cash payments, never accept a ride not booked through the ride-hailing app–an off-platform ride. Two reasons these aren’t safe:

  1. Physical danger: If you’re not booking trough the app, you can’t positively identify the driver.
  2. Financial peril: If you’re not booded though a ride-hailing company, you are not covered by their insurance plan.

Disruption of Taxi Payment Schemes

The taxi industry needed some disruption, and payment was one of the pain points of the old cab system. Cabs adopted credit card processing too slowly. Granted, it was a pain. Each cab needed a credit card reader and connection to the processing company.

With the emergence of smartphones, Uber acted quickly to unite three key new technologies: phone apps, mapping software and online payment systems.

Different Markets Use Cash and Credit Differently

But what works for one market often fails in another. Uber’s reliance on credit card payment presented an obstacle to growth in India when it launched there in 2012.

In India, credit and debit cards have not reached widespread usage.  Cash still rules in India.

Facing competition from Ola Cabs, Uber quickly adapted and moved to accept cash rides.

In Singapore, credit cards have saturated the market, but users are generally uncomfortable with having their cards on file with online companies.

Uber again quickly pivoted and allowed cash payments in Singapore.

UberT in NYC to be phased out

On September 1, 2016, Uber will discontinue one of the few cash-only services in the United States—UberT—as reported by the New York Post. Through UberT, New York riders booked a taxi through their Uber app. The cab charged the normal, metered rate, and Uber tacked on a $2 booking fee.

Why book a cab through Uber?

Two reasons:

1) Avoid surge pricing—when Uber rates soar, cabs charge normal, regulated rates.

2) Easy hailing—no more standing on the curb waving your arm, which is annoying, especially in bad weather.

But Uber did not bill the client’s credit card, as it did with all the other services in the United States. This, I am sure, was the source of much confusion.

Bring cash for a tip

Uber does not accept cash, but drivers do…for tips. In the United States, you need cash to tip the Uber driver, because Uber does not have in-app tipping. (See “9 Reasons To Tip Your Uber Driver“). Lyft, its main US competitor, has tipping built into the platform, which is a feature much loved by its drivers.

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