Uber Car Financing Has Ended: What You Can Do Instead
Want to drive for Uber, but need help affording a car worthy of ride-sharing? While Uber car financing has ended, you can rent a car through one of its partners. There are some advantages to working with an Uber partner, particularly if you’ve been turned down by lenders, but you may be able to find competitive financing, leasing or even rentals on your own.
Uber car financing: What went wrong
Uber offered vehicle loans through exclusive partners until 2017 when the ride-share company reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission for alleged predatory lending practices. According to the FTC, Uber’s Vehicle Solution Program:
- Exaggerated the income drivers could make in certain cities and states
- Misled prospective drivers about the terms of its vehicle financing options
- Saddled drivers with excessive monthly payments
The rideshare company settled the complaint by paying nearly $20 million to drivers in 19 major cities.
Uber leasing program ends as well
Uber eventually sold its Xchange Leasing program to online long-term car rental site Fair. In April 2020, Fair discontinued the Fair Go short-term rental program for Uber drivers after insurance premium increases drove up costs. Rather than pass those costs on to drivers, Fair stopped the popular program that allowed drivers to lease cars for as little as a week at a time.
Fair does not offer rentals as an Uber partner, but individuals can still get a car on their own. However, the program is only available to new customers in California and Florida. Read more about how it works here.
Still need a car to drive for Uber? Rent through Uber.
Even though Uber car financing has ended, it’s still possible to get a car using a rental partner of Uber or Lyft. To start the process, you must sign up as a driver for one of the companies to see the available options in your area.
In the Lyft Express Drive program, Lyft deducts your car rental costs from your earnings. In the Uber programs, you’re responsible for paying the rental costs directly. Here’s a closer look at each option.
|Uber Car Rental Programs|
|Hertz||$214/Wk+$200 deposit||Weekly||See the 29 available areas here.||Included||Unlimited|
|Weekly||See the 30 available cities here.||Included||Unlimited|
|Getaround||$4/hr||Hourly||Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco Bay area, Washington, D.C.||Included||Unlimited|
|Hourly||Baltimore||Included||180 miles/$0.45 per mile over per trip.|
Hertz welcomes drivers with low credit scores to apply for rentals. You must reserve your car seven days ahead of time, and may extend the rental up to 28 days before you have to turn the car in to the branch where you picked it up and initiate a new, 28-day contract.
As long as you are an active Uber driver, Avis allows you to keep the same vehicle for eight seven-day periods, up to 56 days. Then you can turn it in for a new vehicle. You can also use the rented car for personal mileage.
Car owners share their vehicles with drivers, using technology that allows access to the vehicle and provides security for the car. Getaround rentals range from one hour to 21 days. At the end, the car must be returned to the location where you picked it up.
If you live in Baltimore and want to drive for Uber Eats, Zipcar is an option. You can rent a car by the hour and then return it to the pickup location.
|Lyft Express Drive|
|Lyft partners with Hertz, Avis||$220/wk avg||Weekly||See the 42 available cities here||Included||Unlimited|
Lyft Express Drive
Lyft’s Express Drive program helps you rent a car that you can also drive for personal use through a program called Flexdrive. Pricing is based on how many personal miles you plan to drive and may be based on your location as well as what type of car you choose:
- $174/week for 200 personal miles
- $214/week for 400 personal miles
- $339/week for unlimited personal miles
You can also switch between multiple approved vehicles. Lyft will deduct the rental fees from your earnings and charge your credit or debit card for the balance. Lyft Express Drive offers a Rental Rewards program that may reduce or even eliminate the cost of renting if a driver maintains a certain number of trips each week. However, further details weren’t available as of publication.
Uber rental competitors
As we’ve mentioned, there are advantages to renting through a partner — Lyft, for example, may pay some or all of the rental fees depending on the number of trips you drive — but you could rent a car on your own. Make sure to check with your rideshare service to see if there are penalties for renting from a non-partner company.
HyreCar is like Airbnb for cars. Private owners list their car on the service where Uber and Lyft drivers may rent them. Car owners can make money when their car might otherwise sit idle. Uber and Lyft drivers have access to vehicles that include rideshare insurance for additional fees.
Cost: Rates are set by the individual owners and will vary by type of car and location. On average, rates are about $250-$350 per week including insurance and other rental fees. That means a monthly rental is about $1,200 a month. The owner may set daily mileage limits that typically range between 150 and 300 miles. However, HyreCar also says most owners don’t set a mileage cap. HyreCar says drivers make $1,000 per week on average after rental fees.
The Los Angeles-based company connects car owners with ride-share drivers in 13 cities: Baltimore, Dallas, Cranford, N.J., Newark, N.J., Seattle, Stamford, Conn., Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland, Calif., Chicago, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. One appeal is that the company caters to ride-share drivers by featuring vehicles that meet requirements set by Uber and Lyft.
Cost: Rates start at $39 per day but vary by city. A typical weekly promotional rate in Los Angeles, for example, would be about $232, including taxes, fees and insurance. After that first week, the weekly rate would increase to $289.50.
Other ways to get a car to drive for Uber
Many drivers take advantage of Uber’s partner rental programs because their credit scores make buying a car difficult or expensive, or both. However, there are car loans for those with bad credit so you could buy a car on your own terms. It’s also possible to lease a car with bad credit. Make sure any car you lease or purchase will meet the ride-share company’s requirements.
Finance a car
Here’s an example of what you might pay to buy a new car versus renting a ride-share vehicle. Of course, you could always consider a used car — in fact, experts recommend buying used for ride-hailing driving. Or, use a car you already own that meets the ride-share company’s requirements. We used a 2020 Hyundai Sonata SE with an MSRP of $24,575 for this example.
|Financing* vs. Uber Partner Rental|
|Hyundai Financing||Bank Financing||Hertz Rental|
|Monthly payment/60 mos||$376||$458||$856|
|Include insurance and maintenance||No||No||Yes|
*Not including tax, tag and title fees.
Keep in mind that 0% manufacturer financing requires top credit. Financing through a bank, credit union or online lender will vary. In 2019, the average APR was 8.06% for borrowers on the LendingTree platform. See what rates you may qualify for by getting preapproved from your lender, or fill out a single online application at LendingTree and receive up to five loan offers from lenders, depending on your creditworthiness.
IMPORTANT: If you own the car, you’re responsible for operating expenses, including insurance, maintenance, repairs, financing costs and depreciation.
Lease a car
You can also lease a car on your own rather than use an Uber partner. Leasing has some advantages over buying, such as lower payments. But there are also mileage limits and wear-and-tear costs to consider. You may exceed the manufacturer’s mileage limits faster as an Uber driver — for example, you may reach the 36,000 mile limit on a 36-month lease in as little as 12 months if you’re a full-time driver.
Make sure your lease agreement does not prohibit commercial use or specifically ban driving for Uber or Lyft.
BMW offers an extra-cost, ride-share option on new or existing leases through BMW Financial Service for residents of California, Washington and Oregon. For smaller cars, the cost is $2,100 on top of the standard lease. For high-end options, it’s $3,700 in addition to the normal lease cost.
Here’s a closer look at what you might pay to buy a new car versus renting a ride-share vehicle. We once again used the 2020 Hyundai Sonata SE.
|Leasing vs. Uber Partner Rental|
|Hyundai Financing*||Hertz Rental|
|Mileage restriction||36,000/20 cents excess||None|
|Monthly payment/ 36 mos||$245||$856|
|Include insurance and maintenance||Some maintenance depending on the warranty||Yes|
*Based on 700 credit score
The best leasing deals usually go to people with good credit or a FICO Score of 700 or higher. If your score is in the fair to poor range, or 669 or below, you may find it hard to lease a car. Keep in mind that mileage and wear-and-tear fees can add to the total cost shown above, plus a disposition fee when you turn in your car at lease end.
Manufacturer programs and discounts
In addition to offering financing or leasing deals to all buyers, some manufacturers offer incentives exclusively to ride-share drivers.
Uber car financing ended, but the company partnered with Toyota to offer discounts on purchasing or leasing a car. Through June 30, 2020, Uber drivers can save an additional $750 when they purchase or lease select new Toyota vehicles.
Qualifying vehicles include:
- Camry (Gas & Hybrid)
- Avalon (Gas & Hybrid)
- Prius family (Liftback, C, Prime)
- Corolla (Gas & Hybrid)
- Corolla Hatchback
- Yaris Sedan
Ride-share requirements and expenses
Before you make a commitment to buy, lease or rent any vehicle, make sure you’re approved as a driver. For example, drivers may need to be 21 or older in certain cities or states. Also, make sure the vehicle meets the ride-share service’s specific requirements.
Uber’s minimum requirements say cars must have:
- Four doors and be able to carry 4 passengers
- A maximum age of 15 years. As of 2020, Uber Select vehicles can be no older than 2008; Uber Black no older than 5 years
- No cosmetic damage; cars should be in good condition
- No commercial branding
- Passed an Uber inspection
Lyft’s vehicle requirements include:
- Four doors
- Five to eight seatbelts
- Not a subcompact vehicle
- Vehicle age requirements vary by city. In Arizona, for example, in certain cities cars must be 2006 or newer, or 2004 or newer everywhere else.
Other expenses to consider
When deciding how to pay for your ride-hailing vehicle, consider other costs of driving for a service like Uber or Lyft including:
- Vehicle expenses (fuel; maintenance, repair, and tires; insurance; license, registration, and fees; depreciation; and financing.)
- Insurance (Usually covered if you use one of the services above, but it’s a separate expense if you use your personal car instead of one of the rental services. Most car insurance policies do not cover commercial use like ride-hailing services.)
- Other business expenses
Rent, buy, lease: Which option is right for you?
Even though Uber car financing has ended, renting a car through an Uber partner allows you to get a vehicle with a low upfront cost. You won’t pay an acquisition fee, a down payment or capitalized cost reduction, or insurance. When you’re done driving the car for Uber, you can turn it back in without a disposition fee, which is common with a standard lease. This could make your cash flow more manageable. Plus, you’re not stuck with long-term lease or financing agreements if you’re not able to make as much money as you expected while driving.
But monthly payments will be higher for renting than leasing or buying on your own. If your credit is fair or better and driving for Uber or Lyft is a long-term plan, you would probably be better off leasing or purchasing on your own.