Does Lyft Accept Cash?

One of the most groundbreaking developments in the transportation business has to be ride-hailing services. Through apps, private car owners can connect with passengers. This service they provide has severely disrupted the taxi business.

Lyft is one of the biggest ridesharing companies in North America. It currently controls about 30% of the ride-hailing market share. More than a third of adults in the U.S. now utilize these apps.

For those considering using this service, one concern may be utmost: Does Lyft accept cash?

Does Lyft Accept Cash

For those that have used taxi services in the past, payment is typically expected to be in cash. Some do however accommodate debit or credit card payment. But they should be major cards like MasterCard, Visa, or American Express.

Cash is however simplest. Especially when passengers have small bills that reduce the need to wait for change.

With the rise of rideshares, there has also been an upward trend in cashless transactions. While debit and credit cards have been around for a while, there are other cashless options now available. E-wallets, mobile wallets, and UPI apps are becoming increasingly popular alternatives.

These cashless systems make it easy for users to execute payment on their mobile phones. For many, these options represent a safer and more convenient means of making payments. There are however some who still prefer to go the traditional route.

Cash is for many the simplest and oldest means of payment. Let us look at why it is the preferred option even in the face of more modern alternatives.

Why Some People Prefer to Pay in Cash


lyft CreditCash transactions do not require divulging of any personal details. With cashless transactions, there is always some kind of registration to be undertaken.

For instance, with mobile wallets, one must provide a valid email address and/or mobile phone number. Credit cards also require identification information, addresses, and bank account details.

Many abhor having to use technological systems that require them to give out any personal or financial information. Cash-based transactions are anonymous as anyone can hold cash without it being traced back to them.

Technical Ability

To use some of the cashless payment systems, one must be technologically proficient. This means they should understand how to use devices like smartphones and computers.

This type of literacy is not always easy to grasp, especially for older generations. The younger and middle-aged have adapted more easily thanks to early exposure to the hardware and software.

For most seniors, mobile devices are primarily for making calls and sending texts. Beyond that, they rarely make use of other apps or functions. This makes them more inclined to make their payments in cash.

Limited Loss

Many of the cashless payment systems are a link to people’s bank accounts. Or, can easily put them in debt.

While this vulnerability is often mitigated by the use of PINs or passwords, it does make people feel unsafe. They often fear what can become of their finances if they lose their cards or phones. With computer technology, there is also the risk of being hacked.

With cash, if there is a theft or other loss, it is just that money that is lost. For many traditionalists, this risk of loss is enough to shun the alternatives.

The limited access to finances is also helpful to those trying to reduce their expenses. Without easy access to their money, they are less likely to engage in impulse buying.

Lower Cost

For those with poor credit scores, access to credit comes at a premium. From credit cards to loans, you will automatically suffer higher interest rates.


There are many reasons a person may end up a bad credit risk. From the loss of employment that leads to loan default to lengthy incarceration that results in a lack of credit history.

For those in this situation, it is easier to avoid higher costs by sticking to cash transactions. They can better avoid punitive interest rates and control over their budget.

Lyft Payment Options

lyft pay

Despite all the valid reasons for wanting to make cash payments, Lyft takes a different view. They only accept cashless transactions. So as to the query: does Lyft accept cash? – the answer is no.

Here is are the options they accept:

  • All major credit cards
  • Debit cards
  • Prepaid cards
  • E-wallets including PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay

Note that the e-wallet accounts are only acceptable if already linked to valid credit or debit cards.

Cashless transactions are the best way for Lyft to be able to track payments. They can also compare driver activity with payments, ensuring clients are only paying for services rendered.

Another alternative to the payment systems mentioned above is Lyft Cash. This payment method allows users to deposit money into their Lyft cash account. This deposit can come from their credit, debit, or prepaid card.

One of the earlier payment options will still need to be established to cover any shortfall in Lyft Cash.

Lyft Credit and promotions can also be used to cover or reduce the cost of trips. Coupon codes can also be used for payment without the need to provide personal details.

But there’s a small catch. These options however only apply to fares. They cannot be used to cover other expenses like cancellation fees and tips.

Gift cards can also be bought and used to fund a Lyft account. They can be used without the need to provide credit card information.

Now that you know the payment options available, you may want to know how exactly Lyft charges its fares. Let’s look at what factors go into calculating your charge.

How Payments Are Calculated

One of the unique features of ridesharing apps is their ability to predict the cost of a trip. Once you input your destination details, you are provided with a variety of car options and estimated costs.

What you would pay today is not exactly what you may encounter tomorrow or even a few hours later. Here are some of these costing factors and how they influence your travel expenses.

  • Locality – Depending on where you are being picked up or dropped off, there may be a surcharge involved. The surcharge amount may also vary depending on location.
  • Travel Distance – The distance from pick up location to drop off will also matter. Just as with regular taxis, the further you travel, the higher the cost involved.
  • Time of Day/Demand – There are peak periods when there is a high demand for transportation. Rush hour on working days and even certain holidays can result in high demand for rideshare vehicles.
  • Route Changes – At the time you order a Lyft ride, there is already a calculation done. This is to cover the costs of the journey as you have indicated. If you make any changes once the ride has begun, there is a good chance the costs increase.

It could be to add an extra stop or change the destination. The app will cancel the original estimate and run a new calculation to accommodate the changes.

  • Ride Type – there are several Lyft ride modes to choose from depending on the city. From Economy Shared to Lux Black XL, the options are varied and offer different levels of comfort and pricing. There is also the option of alternative vehicles like bikes and scooters.

Now we have covered how fares are calculated. Let’s move on to the steps to making payment when the ride is over.

Procedure for Making Payment

At the end of your trip, you will see the rating and payment screen when you open the app.

  1. You are first given the option to rate your driver and leave a review. The rating ranges from 1-5, with 5 being most positive.

Do not worry about the driver learning about the review if negative. The reviews will come up anonymously.

  1. When it comes to payment, the card or wallet you indicated as your payment method will be charged. If you want another payment method to be applied, tap the credit card icon to select or add. After you can go back to complete the payment.
  2. As mentioned, you can also make use of promotions for payment. The in-tipping button will appear, allowing you to decide what, if any, amount you want to tip.
  3. Complete the transaction by tapping the submit button. An e-receipt will be generated and sent to you.

Why Cash Payment Is Not Acceptable by Lyft

We have discussed why customers may prefer cash transactions. But we have not covered why Lyft does not agree in detail.

Tracking and Commission

As mentioned, cashless transactions are easy to track, especially when hosted on your app. Lyft is better able to track the movement of registered vehicles and customers that engage them. They can then facilitate the payment transaction to ensure all is in order.

They collect their commission and the balance goes to the driver. It is a seamless process that allows for easy payment and everyone getting their cut as agreed. It would be much harder to track if payment was cash-based.


While the older generation may be resistant to cashless payments, the rest are not. Many people understand and enjoy the convenience of cashless payments. They appreciate not having to carry money on their person.

Plus, younger generations are more likely to forget their wallet than their smartphone when leaving home. Using a service that they can pay for on their phone is welcome. They also appreciate using an app that already has their details and can automatically complete transactions.


This is a common problem for regular taxi drivers. Because criminals know that they carry cash received from passengers, they are often a target for robbery. Some incidents can turn violent with stabbings and shootings often experienced.

Ride-hailing services and their cashless transactions make the drivers less of a target. With some making as much as $800 a day, it is safer to keep cash out of the equation.

Guidelines for Tipping Your Lyft Driver

Lyft CarWe have already looked at how fares are calculated. Some people also wonder how they should go about tipping.

15-20% tips are normally recommended for regular taxis. Or, round up by a few dollars to the next 5th or 10th denomination. This is also a good rule of thumb for Lyft drivers.

Thankfully, Lyft credits the full tip to the driver account, meaning more money for them. It is not mandatory to give a tip, but even a few dollars will be appreciated. It is easier via the app, which provides an in-tipping button at journeys end, but you can also pay cash.

Most passengers go by the quality of the ride. You can consider such factors as courtesy, cleanliness, and timeliness. The better the experience you have, the kinder you should be in your rating and tipping.


There are many reasons to want to use Lyft. They give drivers a bigger share of the revenues. As compared to their biggest competitor, Uber.

They also set high standards for who can be a driver, with background checks being a must. They are also more affordable than regular taxis.

While they do not accept cash payments, they offer a good selection of cashless alternatives. It is safer for the driver and passenger while allowing for some cost-saving.

If you are cost and safety conscious, then Lyft is a good option that just calls for an app download. The flexibility of options when choosing a vehicle and the ability to know pricing upfront should also not be underrated.

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