Major Uber Change – Cash Payment Trial Begins in Birmingham

Major Uber Change – Cash Payment Trial Begins in Birmingham

Just 3 weeks ago, Uber drivers in Birmingham received an update to their driver terms. Uber passengers are being given the option to pay with coins and notes as part of a cash payment trial. 

Until now, passenger transactions were handled solely through the app, minimising the risk of a ride and dash. This system has worked well until now, so why is Uber looking at changing?

Are there any benefits to accepting cash in a digital world? Read on as we investigate the Uber Birmingham trial further. 

How Passengers Pay For Rides Now

Gone are the days of cheques and chip-and-pin, the modern world is contactless. Nowadays, we can pay for almost anything from our phones without ever having to touch our wallets. 

This includes getting from A to B in a private hire vehicle or taxi. Ridesharing platforms like Uber are designed to be user-friendly, and the Uber app makes booking the ride as simple as possible. 

Users register their card details, and payment is taken automatically once they reach their destination. There are no hidden fees, both driver and passenger know the cost upfront of their Uber ride, plus there’s a great option to tip at the end.

With a system that’s so slick, why has Uber started their Birmingham trial?

Card Vs Cash Payments

The number of people in the UK leading “cashless lives” has been growing year on year, according to UK Finance. In 2022, over half of all payments were made with a debit card, and contactless payments rose to 17 billion.

From UK Finance

We can see debit card payments have experienced a spike in usage since 2020 as a result of lockdowns and an increase in online shopping. 

Meanwhile, cash has seen a decline since 2012. But interestingly, the number of people using cash in 2022 increased for the first time in a decade. 

Why Do People Still Use Cash Payment Methods?

According to Age UK & Financial Lives, an estimated 2.4 million people in the UK aged 65+ used cash in 2020. This number used cash for almost everything in their day-to-day lives, so keeping access to coins remains important.

In 2021, a YouGov survey found that more than half of older people (aged 65+) had used cash within the last week, despite national lockdowns. 

2023 has been headlined by the cost of living crisis, again giving more importance to the use of cash. 

Many people now use cash payments as a way of budgeting and watching their spending. It’s all too easy to tap and forget, but seeing your physical money disappear makes you more mindful of how much you’re spending.

Age UK also reports that some disabled people find issues with using either their phones or card readers to make payments – with many disabilities causing sight or mobility problems impacting their ability to see and use electronic payment methods. 

Why Cash Payments in the Uber Birmingham Trial?

According to an Uber spokesperson speaking to The Liverpool Echo:

“At Uber, we want to help as many people as possible move safely, which is why we are trialling a pilot in Birmingham, where riders can pay for their trip with cash. Drivers are under no obligation to take cash trips and can easily opt out via their Driver app.”

It looks like Uber has spotted the increased trend in cash payments, and has listened to customers who prefer to pay in cash. Perhaps they’re also looking to take up more market share from traditional taxi drivers already using cash. 

However, with drivers having to carry change, does this put them in potential danger? 

Whatever their reason, we will keep an eye out for the results of this Birmingham Uber trial. 

What do you think about accepting cash payments? Do you think this is a good thing or a bad thing for Uber to introduce? 

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