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People become Uber drivers for lots of reasons, but at the end of the day, the main reason is to make money. Maybe the money is to help pay your bills, save for a vacation, or get a new car. Whatever the reason, you’re probably wondering how exactly you get paid as an Uber driver.
This is understandable, especially if you’re thinking about driving for Uber or just got started. While Uber has done everything possible to make it easy to get paid, the process can still be confusing if you’re new to it all. Furthermore, there are a couple different ways that Uber can pay you, which leads to questioubns about which method you should choose.
In this article, we’ll answer all your questions about how Uber drivers get paid. We’ll take a look at the following topics:
If you haven’t done much driving for Uber, then it’s natural to wonder how much you’ll get paid. This isn’t a straightforward question to answer, as it depends on a few factors:
- How much you drive — The more rides you give, the more you’ll earn. If driving for Uber is your full-time job, you’re going to make more than someone driving part-time (all other things being equal). However, the key isn’t to work more hours; it’s to work the right hours (especially when surge pricing is in effect). Learn more about the best times to drive for Uber.
- What type of rides you’re giving — Uber has a variety of different service options, and some of them pay more than others. UberBLACK drivers will make more than UberX drivers, for instance.
- Your city — Fares will be higher for more expensive cities, on average.
- Uber fees — Uber takes a percentage of every fare to help pay for their operating costs. These are relatively consistent across markets, but they’re important to keep in mind.
- Taxes — Uber won’t take these out of your earnings since you’re an independent contractor, but you will be responsible for reporting and paying them each quarter. New drivers often forget this and then have a nasty surprise waiting for them at tax time, so be sure you account for these.
All of the above factors come into play when estimating how much you’ll earn. To get a sense of how your earnings will vary based on your city, take a look at the graphic below. It’s based on our 2018 Independent Driver Earnings Survey:
As you can see, earnings are definitely better in some states than others. The best states to drive for Uber appear to be the following:
On the other hand, drivers in these states tend to see much lower earnings overall:
- North Carolina
Of course, just because you live in a state where drivers tend to earn more or less on average doesn’t mean your earnings will necessarily reflect that. You still have influence over how much you earn; you just may have to be more creative if you live in a state where earnings are lower on average. Consult our guide to increasing your Uber earnings to learn more.
For a more in-depth explanation of Uber driver earnings, check out our guide to how much Uber drivers make.
Uber has two main methods that they can use for driver payments. We’ll explore each of them separately, as they require different steps to set up. We’ll also explore the pros and cons of each.
1. Direct Deposit
This is the default method for receiving payments from Uber. When you sign up to drive for Uber, you’ll have to provide banking information. This includes the account number and routing number for the bank account into which you want Uber to deposit your earnings.
Once you have entered this information and have started giving rides, you will receive your earnings each week via direct deposit. Uber pays drivers weekly. A “week” for Uber runs from Monday at 4:00 a.m. to the following Monday at 3:59 a.m.
Uber sends all payments for rides given in the previous week by the Thursday afterwards. For instance, if you gave rides during the week of October 1 to October 8, you’d get paid for that week by Thursday, October 11.
Note, however, that the precise date on which you will receive your earnings will depend on how your financial institution handles direct deposits. Some banks may place holds on direct deposits (especially if it’s the first time you’ve received them). This can mean that it could take a couple extra days before your funds are fully available. Uber is not in control of this, so you should direct any questions you have regarding payment processing to your bank.
2. Instant Pay
Sometimes, direct deposit can be too slow. You have bills that are due now, not in a week, and the people you owe don’t care about how Uber defines pay periods. Recognizing this reality, Uber has created another way that drivers can get paid. It’s called Instant Pay, and it allows you to immediately cash out all your driver earnings.
Instant Pay actually breaks down into two payment options. Both have the same result (you get your earnings available instantly), but they have slightly different methods and costs for accomplishing them.
The first option is to use the debit card from your bank. If you pick this option, then Uber will cash out your earnings instantly for a charge of $0.50 per transaction. You can do this up to five times per day, and most Visa, MasterCard, and Discover cards are accepted. Uber does note that some banks may place holds on these transactions, causing delays in the availability of funds. They identify the following banks as having this issue in particular:
- H&R Block
- First Citizens
- California Bank and Trust
- First National Bank of Omaha
- Webster Bank
- Silicon Valley Bank
- Northern Trust
- Bank of New York Mellon
Even if your financial institution isn’t on this list, you could still see a delay in the availability of your funds. This can be quite frustrating, as the whole point of Instant Pay is to have your money available instantly.
Luckily, there’s another option. Through a third-party partnership with GoBank, Uber has created a way to guarantee that your funds are available instantly. What’s more, you don’t have to pay any fees.
All you have to do is sign up for the Uber Debit Card, which is available to all Uber drivers. In addition to free cash outs, you won’t pay any monthly fees, and you can cash your earnings out up to five times per day.
Now that you understand how Uber pays drivers, let’s look at a few common questions about driver payments.
1. Does Uber pay a minimum wage?
In general, no. Uber drivers are independent contractors, which means that Uber is not required to pay them a specific wage. Some municipalities, such as New York City, are working to require Uber to pay drivers a minimum wage, but the proposed legislation has yet to take effect. Furthermore, the majority of cities still have no such requirements.
While this can be frustrating, it’s better to look at this as an opportunity. If you treat rideshare driving as a small business instead of a job, then things can change dramatically. You’ll work to maximize your earnings and profits while reducing your expenses. Learn more about this critical mindset shift in our guide to making more money as an Uber driver.
2. Does Uber include my tips in payments?
Yes, all tips you received through the Uber app will be included as part of your payments. Note that it can take some time for Uber’s system to register tips, so you may not see them appear on your weekly statements for a bit. This also means that you may not be able to cash your tips out via Instant Pay as quickly as you could the money you earned from fares.
3. How do I check my Uber driver earnings?
You can use the Uber driver app to see pay statements for all the trips you’ve given. These statements will display your gross earnings (remember, you’re responsible for taking out your own taxes).
To see your earnings, follow these steps:
- Open the Uber driver app.
- Select the “Earnings” tab.
- From here, you’ll be able to see your estimated net fares for all the trips you’ve given in the past week. This is Uber’s estimate of what you’ll take home after the Uber service fee and any other applicable fees. It’s just an estimate, however, and may not exactly match your weekly statement.
- To view earnings for previous weeks, tap “Pay Summaries.”
Here’s an example of what you can expect to see. In this case, it’s showing the driver’s daily earnings:
Give Rides, Get Paid
We hope you now understand how to get paid as an Uber driver. It’s not a difficult process, and the company continues to find ways to make it easier. This way, you can spend less time worrying about how you’ll get paid and more time meeting the ride requests you need to maximize your earnings.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.