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Lyft Cash: What It Is & How It Works For Riders In 2024

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Key Takeaways

  • Lyft Cash enables payment for rides through preloaded cash, catering to users without cards or bank accounts.
  • Funds can be added at retail stores or via the app, with Lyft Cash automatically set as the default payment method.
  • Benefits include auto-refill, ease of budgeting, and access to promotions, despite cash not being accepted directly for rides.
  • It offers a practical payment alternative for those preferring cash, ensuring broad access to Lyft services.

What is Lyft Cash?

Lyft Cash is an alternative payment method embedded within the app that you can preload with cash at a retail outlet near you.

It’s the closest form of payment to a cash option if you prefer to pay for Lyft rides and other services using physical money. This feature is only available in the U.S.

a screenshot of Lyft cash balance within the Lyft rider app

Lyft Cash is perfect for riders without bank accounts, debit, credit, or prepaid cards. It’s a flexible way to convert cold, hard cash into digital currency at no extra charge.

Plus, it’s convenient and easy to use. Once you’ve set up Lyft Cash, it becomes your default payment method for booking rides. The app automatically deducts your fare from your Lyf Cash balance.

The best part about Lyft Cash is that it has no expiration. That said, you cannot transfer, refund, or withdraw it.

You’ll also forfeit all the remaining balance in your Lyft Cash if you delete your Lyft account.

Setting Up Lyft Cash

Follow this quick guide to set up Lyft Cash in your account:

  1. Launch the Lyft app on your phone. Make sure your location services are on.
  2. Click the menu icon (three horizontal bars) on the upper-left corner of the app to open the side menu.
  3. Tap on the Payment tab and then click the Add Cash button.
  4. Tap on In-store, and then click Find a Store to locate all nearby participating stores.
  5. Click on the shop icon of your preferred retail store. A small pop-up window will display relevant info about the store, including distance, address, whether it’s closed or open, and the closing time.
  6. Click See Barcode to generate a unique barcode.
  7. Head to a cash register at the store and show the cashier your barcode. Specify how much you want to deposit into your Lyft account and complete the payment.
  8. Return to the Payment section in your Lyft app to check if the load was successful. Your Lyft Cash should be ready in a few minutes.

Don’t worry if your Lyft Cash doesn’t reflect your cash load transaction immediately. Sometimes, it can take up to 24 hours to update your new balance.

You can top up Lyft Cash in more than 35,000 participating retail locations nationwide, including the following retail chains:

  • ACE Cash Express
  • Family Dollar
  • Kroger Family of Stores
  • Kwik Trip
  • Sheetz
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart

How to Add to a Lyft Cash Balance

You can fund your Lyft account with physical cash through the in-store transactions described above. The minimum deposit is $30, but you can load up to $300 at a time.

But it’s not the only way to add funds to your Lyft Cash. You can also use your bank account, debit card, credit card, prepaid card, gift card, or PayPal to top up your Lyft Cash within the app.

Here’s how to transfer money from one of your payment methods to your Lyft Cash balance.

  1. Navigate to the Payment section and tap on Add Cash.
  2. Check one of the load amounts from the available options: $25, $50, or $100.
  3. Optional: You can top up your Lyft Cash automatically every time your balance drops below $15. Toggle on the Auto-Refill feature, and Lyft will deduct the pre-selected amount from your preferred payment method.
  4. Tap on Check Out. If you prefer manual top-ups, make sure Auto-Refill is turned off before checking out.
  5. Choose the payment method you’d like to use to fund your Lyft Cash. If you’re thinking of using a new payment method, return to the Payment page, click Add Payment Method, and follow the on-screen prompts.
  6. Tap on Purchase to finalize the transaction.

If your Lyft Cash balance isn’t enough to cover your ride, Lyft will charge the rest of your fare from your alternative payment method.

How to Use Lyft Cash

You can use Lyft Cash to pay for different Lyft service levels, including standard Lyft rides, Lyft XL, and Lyft Lux, as well as rent a scooter or bike.

Lyft Cash automatically becomes your default payment method after topping it up, and you can use it to book a Lyft ride right away.

In case Lyft Cash isn’t your current default, here’s how to set it up in a few simple steps:

  1. Open your Lyft app and navigate to the Payment window.
  2. Under Payment Defaults, tap on Personal to view the list of payment methods linked to your account. A check mark indicates your current default payment method.
  3. Tap on Lyft Cash to assign it as your preferred payment method.
  4. Book your Lyft ride as usual.

Note that this change won’t affect the payment settings on your business profile.

If you’re a new rider with Lyft Cash as the only payment method on your account, you’ll need to submit a valid ID once you request a ride. Don’t worry; this is a one-time verification only.

Meanwhile, you must link an alternative payment option to your account to use Lyft Cash when renting a Lyft bike or scooter.

Managing and Monitoring Lyft Cash Balance

Here are some tips to manage your Lyft Cash effectively:

  • Check your remaining Lyft Cash balance in the Payment section to see if you have enough credits to book a ride.
  • Open your Ride History from the drop-down menu in the app to track how much you spend on Lyft. There, you’ll find a list of all your rides. Click the right arrow to get detailed info on a particular trip, including the cost and payment method used.
  • Keep a record of all your Lyft Cash transactions to help you budget for your rides.
  • Got a ride soon? Plan a quick trip to the store and reload your Lyft Cash early.
  • If you’re a frequent rider, enable Auto-Refill to top up your Lyft Cash automatically when your balance is low.
  • Always use promo codes when paying with Lyft Cash. Lyft automatically applies active promos and ride credits to qualified rides, but you can choose a specific promo code you want to use.

Troubleshooting Common Lyft Cash Issues

Here are a few issues you can encounter when using Lyft Cash:

  • Balance Discrepancy: If you load your Lyft Cash with cash at a store, wait for 24 hours to see the updated balance.
  • Payment Error: Make sure you have enough balance on your Lyft Cash to cover the ride cost. Set up an alternative payment method to pay for any excess charge.

To report any Lyft Cash-related matter, reach out to Lyft support through the Help section in the app. Provide detailed information about your problem, and Lyft’s customer support team will assist you.

For other concerns, Lyft is more likely to compensate you with credits to your Lyft Cash instead of sending money to your preferred refund method.

For instance, you can get $20 Lyft Cash if your driver is more than ten minutes late for pickup or $50 if you don’t get matched with a driver in ten minutes.

Advantages of Using Lyft Cash

Lyft Cash offers the following benefits:

1. Ease of Budgeting

Preloading funds makes it easier to stay within your budget for future Lyft rides or rentals.

This way, you don’t have to stress about overdraft charges on your bank account, a common issue with cashless options with insufficient balance.

If you have yet to open a bank account or set up a payment card, Lyft Cash is the simplest alternative to pay for rides.

2. Exclusive Promotions and Rewards

Because Lyft Cash works as a regular payment method, all promos and discounts apply to your fare.

Plus, you earn credits for late pickups and unsuccessful matching through Lyft Cash.

3. Cash-Friendly Option

Worried about linking your card to digital services? You can still enjoy Lyft rides by loading your account with cash at your favorite retail store.

Lyft Cash makes convenient transportation accessible to everyone, including Americans with no bank accounts or with limited access to financial services.

So, how is Lyft Cash different from paying with cash?

To be clear, you can’t use direct cash as ride payment, although you can tip your Lyft driver with it. And while you can load your Lyft Cash with physical money, it’s still a digital form of payment.

Conclusion: Making the Most of Lyft Cash

While you cannot pay your Lyft driver directly with cash, Lyft Cash offers a convenient and flexible alternative. It’s the go-to for riders without access to cashless payment methods like credit or debit cards.

You can add funds to your Lyft Cash at a participating store near you or right within the app using your preferred payment method.

Turn on the auto-refill option, and you’ll never have to worry about running low on Lyft Cash to pay for your rides and rentals.

It’s as good as any payment method, so you won’t miss out on all applicable ride credits and promotions.

Try Lyft Cash today and enjoy a smoother, more efficient payment method on your Lyft app!

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