Uber Advance Pay

Published by Gadget in the blog Gadget's blog.

A lot of buzz flowing through the forums in the last few weeks with Uber’s latest announcement of Uber’s Advance Pay option. Here is an analysis - note there’s a lot more that meets the eye here.

NEW DRIVERS: THINK VERY CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU SIGN UP FOR THIS UBER PROGRAM

The Facts:
  • Open to new drivers (not current)
  • Driver receives $1000 “interest free” loan from Clearbanc
  • Loan principal is to be paid off through driver earnings over 15 weeks
  • If loan is not paid off, driver pays fees up to $50
  • Currently only available in California and Michigan

While the prospect of a “zero interest” loan sounds provocative, one must wonder why anyone would take Uber upon on this offer. Why borrow $1000 when you can make just about the same amount in a new driver sign-up bonus? Drivers still have the option to use the traditional referral program and actually get paid the cash outright, as opposed to borrowing it and then paying it back. There are some voices in the market who believe that this is just Uber’s way to get rid of the sign up and referral bonus program all together. When you think about it, it’s brilliant from Uber’s perspective: they get to keep drivers on the platform while never paying out another referral bonus.

On that note, the other troubling aspect of this program is the party who is lending you the money also determines how much money you make in order to pay back the loan. It is Uber - and Uber alone - that controls the fares which determine how much money you can make as a driver and consequently, how long it will take to pay back the loan.

So let’s take Detroit, which is one of two places Uber has launched this program. Uber’s new reduced fare in Detroit is $0.30/mile. Just to pay back this $1000 loan, a driver would need to drive 3,333 miles in Uber rides over 15 weeks and literally make no ADDITIONAL money doing it!

3,333 miles. That’s the distance from New York to California.

And what if Uber decided to drop the fare by 30%. Sound familiar? That means it would take 4,327 miles just to pay back the loan.

Once again, let me reiterate - you are borrowing money from the same person who determines how hard you have to work to pay back that money.

The loan is being issued through Clearbanc. You may recall that Clearbanc had a similar product to DailyPay but paid you your daily earnings through a prepaid debit card. They charged $2 per day. It appears as if they have discontinued that service given Uber’s own prepaid debit card product, that they launched last month called, Instant Pay by GoBank. Instant Pay is only available in select Uber markets in the U.S. and customers already seem frustrated by the card. Look no further than Go Bank’s Facebook page, or even reviews from members on this forum.

In conclusion this loan is meant to entice a new driver who hasn’t really thought through the consequences. Or a new driver who rushes to sign up at the prospect of receiving $1000 but doesn’t appreciate the opportunity cost of giving up the sign up bonus (new drivers can’t double dip with a referral bonus PLUS the loan). You might be wondering, why is Uber doing this? The fundamental premise hasn’t changed: Uber needs drivers. This is just a cheaper way to recruit, when compared to paying out referral bonuses.

This is enough evidence to support Uber’s growing control over drivers and their earnings. They’ve partnered with mediocre companies to create subprime products for their driver partners - YOU!

Avoid doing a deal with the devil and be smart about how to reap benefits from Uber’s rideshare opportunity, because it CAN be great.

I'll leave you with a couple final thoughts:

  1. Don’t cannibalize the Affiliate Referral program. The more people you refer, the more bonuses you will accumulate. Considering Advance Pay at the time of sign up will ultimately put you in debt with Uber, and will kill your opportunities of referring others and earning future bonuses.
  2. Considering Advance Pay because you’re in need of quick cash? If you can’t wait for your Uber referral bonus after 20 rides, there’s a service I briefly mentioned called DailyPay. Many drivers use this service to get their earnings everyday as opposed to once a week. They safely transfer your daily earnings straight to your bank account. They only collect a small fee that’s as low as $0.99 and never higher than $1.49 only on days that you drive. They ALSO have a referral program where you could earn $20/person you successfully refer which basically offsets any fees that you accumulate anyhow! Sign up for a 2 week free trial here. https://www.trydailypay.com/drivers?ref=UPNET

You’ve now been given the Advance Warning.

Interested to hear what you think about Advance Pay and if you have a different perspective. Anyone given it a try yet?
  • Disgusted Driver
  • UberX Summer
  • Fudd
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