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How To Pay For Lyft Rides With Cash In 2023 [Step-By-Step]

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Key Information

Lyft Cash Introduced

Lyft doesn’t accept direct cash payments. Instead, they’ve launched “Lyft Cash,” allowing users to preload their accounts with cash at select retail stores.

How It Works

Users can add cash at 35,000 partner stores (e.g., Walmart, Walgreens). Show the Lyft app barcode at checkout to load cash into your Lyft balance.

Cash Tipping

Cash tips are possible, but app-based tips are preferable for tracking and ensure the driver receives the full amount without deductions.

Other Payment Methods

Lyft accepts credit cards, Lyft gift cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, and Venmo. Remember, a valid card is needed even when using PayPal or Venmo.

Does Lyft Take Cash?

No, Lyft does not directly accept cash for rides. However, they’ve introduced a system where users can preload their accounts with cash at certain retail locations to use for their services.

Rather than paying drivers directly with cash, customers can now deposit money into their accounts at one of 35,000 partner retail stores such as Walmart, Walgreens, and Family Dollar. At these stores, users display a barcode from the Lyft app to the cashier, who then adds the specified cash amount to their Lyft balance.

How to Use Lyft Cash: Step-by-Step

Paying for a Lyft ride with cash is easy, and can be done in a few simple steps:

  1. Accessing the Feature: Open your Lyft app and navigate to the ‘Payment’ tab. Here, you’ll find the ‘Add cash’ option.
  2. Locate a Partner Store: Tap on ‘Find a store’ to see all the locations near you where you can load cash.
  3. At the Store: Once you’re at the store, show your unique barcode or ID number to the cashier. After adding your desired cash amount, your Lyft Cash balance will instantly update. Ready to roll!
does lyft take cash - gif showing how it works

Quick Note:

If you’re using only cash as your payment method on Lyft, there’s a one-time ID verification step before your next ride.

Other Lyft Payment Options

  1. Credit Cards: All major cards like Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express are accepted.
  2. Lyft Gift Card: Digital cards available on Lyft’s website; these can’t cover driver tips or additional fees.
  3. Apple Pay & Google Pay: Digital wallet options for quick payments.
  4. PayPal & Venmo: Popular online payment methods. Remember, a valid credit or debit card needs to be set as a default payment method when using these.

Why Did Lyft Introduce Cash Payments?

According to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, a significant number of households, especially communities of color, either don’t use traditional banking services or have limited access to them. Lyft, always at the forefront of innovative solutions, saw an opportunity to make their platform even more inclusive.

In the bigger picture of the rideshare industry, this move potentially sets Lyft apart from its competitors.

Take Uber, for instance. While users can utilize a balance to fund their rides, they’re restricted to loading this balance via payment cards, PayPal, or Venmo. Currently, if you’re really set on paying with hard cash, Lyft stands out as the only major player facilitating this.

Tipping with Cash

a vector graphic of a woman handing a lyft driver lyft tipping money through the window of the car after a ride

While tipping your Lyft driver with cash is possible, tipping through the app can be more convenient. App-based tips are fully received by the driver without any deductions. Additionally, electronic tipping allows both drivers and riders to track transactions, which can be beneficial for record-keeping.

Cash Tipping Usually Means a High Rating

As a rider, I almost always tip in cash. It’s an easy way to reward the driver for their time and effort, while also simultaneously earning a good rating for yourself.

As a driver, I almost always give 5-star ratings to people who tip me in cash. If you tip on the app, drivers can’t see the tip until later when they get their statement.

However, with cash, they can instantly see it, drastically increasing your chances of getting a good rating when they close the ride.

My Take: The Cash-Based Ride Model is Dead

While rideshare apps have not put taxis out of business, it has changed the industry. The cash-based structure of the traditional taxi service is becoming outdated.

We, as a society, are moving towards cashless payments in almost every other industry. Not to mention that the cash-based model has several inherent downsides.

For starters, a business based on exchanging dollar bills can create dangerous situations. They can be easy targets for criminals as the money involved is more readily available. This can result in an easy large payday.

Secondly, if you do not have enough cash or a variety of different bills to pay, you would be unable to ride in a taxi. The cash-based model is not helpful for those circumstances.

When the exchange of money is awkward, it can result in a loss of customers. No one wants to support a company where they had a bad experience.

Lastly, Lyft monitors drivers, passengers, and rates to create a system based on responsibility. Rideshare companies’ engagement with drivers and passengers creates high standards for these companies. For example, standards help drivers create 5-star experiences for riders resulting in better tips from riders and better customer service.

You could say that rideshare apps made much better standards for the industry! The app-based model helps make the business simple, which creates the best possible experience for everyone involved.

Frequently Asked Questions

a vector graphic of a man holding a smartphone saving money on a lyft ride using a lyft promo code as the vehicle picks him up and a woman is riding in the car

Typically, these apps do an excellent job of walking you through them. Even with all this help, there are still parts of Lyft that are unclear.

Can you transfer Lyft cash from one account to another?

No. Lyft Cash’s terms and conditions say that Lyft Cash is only available to the account loaded on. Lyft Cash also cannot transfer to any other accounts on or off the app.

Can I use Lyft without a credit card?

The answer is no. When you set up your account on Lyft, you must enter in a credit card number. Even if you choose to use PayPal, Venmo, or Apple or Google Pay, you must still have a valid credit card on file with Lyft.

Does Lyft take debit cards?

Yes! You can link your debit card by entering the card number, expiration date, and CVV, just like a credit card. You can also use a debit card to add funds to your Lyft Cash account.

Are there discounts or promotions I can use?

There sure is! Lyft offers up any active promotions or coupons under the ‘Rewards’ option in the main menu. Discounts and promos can range from percent off, fixed discounts, or flat-rate fares. So, there are plenty of ways to save.

Ready for Lyft Off

When using Lyft, you now know what to expect when it comes to payments and the use of cash payments. Even though it may seem easier to use cash, it can create uncomfortable and unsafe situations. Armed with the know-how of all the ways to pay and tip, you can book your next ride with ease.

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