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Uber and Lyft have revolutionized the transportation industry in recent years, and they have undoubtedly eaten into the taxi and rental car markets. Customers must usually enter a card-based payment system when signing up for these services, which typically involves obtaining a general use credit card provided by one of the four major payment networks (Visa, Mastercard, Discover or American Express). However, a large portion of the population does not qualify for or own a credit card, and must rely on debit cards linked to checking accounts or prepaid debit cards to make non-cash electronic payments online or via mobile devices.
So, do prepaid debit cards work for ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft in this situation? The short answer is that it depends on the amount of money loaded onto the card. This form of purchase is similar to purchasing gas at the store, renting a vehicle, or making a hotel reservation in that the final cost of the transaction is unknown before the services are provided. As a result, card issuers allow retailers to set aside a portion of a credit card’s credit line (or a portion of a prepaid debit card’s available balances) to cover the average cost of a purchase. The excess of the hold is then released back to the customer’s account after the actual sum of the transaction is calculated and settled with payment, usually within 48 hours or two business days. This can be problematic in two ways. The first is that the transaction would not be approved if the prepaid customer has sufficient funds for the transaction but not for the total amount of the “hold” that is blocked out. The lag effect of the hold, on the other hand, will make the account seem more exhausted than it really is, limiting the customer’s ability to make other purchases during the hold time.
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Is it possible to use a Visa gift card to pay for Uber? As long as the card is reloadable, Uber accepts Visa gift cards as payment. Uber’s payment processing system may or may not accept set-amount gift cards. We’ve got everything you need to know about using Visa gift cards to pay for your next Uber ride.
Visa gift cards can be used almost anywhere that accepts big debit and credit cards, including Uber, the ride-sharing service.
Most debit cards and prepaid gift cards can be used to pay for your next Uber trip, but some prepaid cards are not compatible with Uber’s billing system, according to the company’s website.
For more details, we contacted Uber’s corporate customer service department, which informed us that reloadable Visa gift cards are compatible with its system. Gift cards with fixed quantities that are not reloadable, on the other hand, may or may not be approved. According to our correspondence with Uber, you can try to incorporate a set-amount Visa gift card as a payment option on the app, but be prepared to have an alternative form of payment if it doesn’t go through. (See our posts on Visa gift card availability at JCPenney and Lowe’s for more detail on where to purchase Visa gift cards.)
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If you agree with the sharing economy or not, there’s no denying that it has expanded travel options. Airbnb is a great example of this, as it allows you to have a more authentic experience at your destination – also in emerging, fast-growing markets. In many cities around the world, the sharing economy has changed transportation, with ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft offering a convenient alternative to conventional methods.
As the popularity of ride-sharing apps has grown, this has become a prominent incentive category for both travel and cash-back credit cards. Make sure you’re using the right credit card for each trip to ensure you’re getting the most out of your ride-shares.
The Points Guy independently gathered information for the Amex Green Card, Uber card, U.S. Bank Cash+ card, and Apple Card. The card issuer has not checked or given the information on this list.