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Uber is just about everywhere and while using a credit card for Uber is the most convenient and most logical way to utilize the Uber App, some people still want to know: can you pay Uber with cash? The answer to this question is yes but it depends on where you are located. This article will explain how to add and use cash as a payment method and whether or not it’s probably a good idea.
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Can you pay Uber with cash?
Yes, certain locations will allow you to pay for your Uber ride with cash.
Here’s what Uber officially states about using cash:
Uber is a cashless experience in most cities. When a trip ends, the fare is automatically charged to the rider’s preferred payment method.
Unless you are on a trip in a city where riders can use their app to select cash as a payment option, there is no need to ask a rider for a cash payment of trip fares.
Tip: Ditch the cash and use a travel card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred to earn 2X the points on travel purchases like Uber. Plus, it’s at one of its highest offers at 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months after account opening!
How to add the cash option for Uber
Choosing cash for your payment method is very easy and only takes a couple of seconds to do.
First you need to log-in to your app.
Then click on “Payment” and scroll down to “Ride Profiles” where you will select your profile. In most cases, this will be “Personal” if you have not renamed it. Once there you can select your Default Payment as Cash.
During the ride you might the following message: “Your driver’s phone will show you the amount to pay at the end of the trip.”
Once you complete your ride, you’ll simply hand the driver the cash required to cover your fare and you should still receive an email receipt after the Uber driver has taken your cash payment.
Note: I tried to use cash as a payment and after setting it as my default payment the app never prompted me to had over my cash. Thus, I think that the cash payment feature could be faulty for some users.
Where can you use cash for Uber?
I imagine that the locations that take cash for Uber are going to be constantly changing so you’ll always have to check up on the latest information and updates to be sure if Uber in your location takes cash.
Uber initially rolled out cash options in countries where credit cards were not as popular or widespread like India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt, Brazil, Peru, South Africa, and the Philippines.
I’ve been able to use cash here in Texas and I know some other locations like Philadelphia have it as well. But I’m not sure about how other US states like California, Florida, New York, and others handle the issue.
Should you use cash?
Whether you should use cash when paying for an Uber ride is a completely different matter to ponder.
Uber is designed to be cashless
Keep in mind that Uber is designed to be a cashless payment system for transportation. Thus, when you choose to use cash you might catch your Uber driver off guard. They might not even know that cash is acceptable and that could cause some issues when trying to pay for your ride.
Drivers may not have change
Another major issue is that many drivers may not have change on them to break up your cash. So generally speaking you may have to resort to offering your cash payment with the tip included since you may not be able to get change back. And if you’re not prepared with smaller bills, you could be leaving some pretty hefty tips.
Uber does try encourage their drivers to carry cash but from what I can tell this is not a requirement so there’s no guarantee they will have cash or change on them.
Credits for change
It seems like some Uber drivers have a feature where they can credit you for the change that you are due so if that feature is widespread then you may not have to worry about collecting your change after every ride. So if your ride is $14 and you hand them a $20, you should be able to get a credit for $6 in your Uber account.
However, there are also reports out there of Uber rounding up to the nearest dollar even when the price of the ride is barely above a dollar amount. For example, a $9.08 ride could be rounded up to $10. I’m not sure how prevalent that is but it’s something to be on the lookout for as that could eat into your expenses over time.
Thus, I personally would not resort to using cash unless I really needed to use that.
What about cash tips for Uber drivers?
You can also leave tips with cash for your Uber driver. However, Uber now allows you to include tips when paying with your credit card, so there’s really no reason why you would need to use cash for the fare or for a tip.
I will say that some people like to tip in cash so that their driver can instantly see that they’ve tipped and will more prone to give them a nice review. If you wait to too long to tip in the app, there’s a chance your driver might think you’re not going to tip them and they might give you a lower review. So if you’re concerned with your Uber reputation paying in cash for your tip can make sense.
Since you don’t need change and just about anybody would be happy to receive cash, I don’t see this a being a big deal, regardless of how you decide to leave your tips, cash or no cash.
Does Uber Eats take cash?
I don’t believe that Uber Eats takes cash (though they might in some locations). If I can use cash here in Texas for Uber but can’t use it for Uber Eats, it makes me feel like Uber Eats does not take cash. However, they do take alternative payment forms like PayPal and Venmo. You can always leave your tips in cash, though.
Does Lyft take cash?
I’m not aware of Lyft taking cash as a form of payment but if you’ve had any experience with that feel free to let me know.
Uber allows for cash payments in some locations so you’ll have to check to see if that is going to an option where you need your transportation. While it’s nice that they’ve added the flexible option, it’s probably going to be easier to just use your credit card since that’s much more in-line with the spirit of the app than using cash is.
H-Town based Attorney turned credit card rewards expert. Founder of UponArriving.com.