Uber drivers in Uganda prefer cash to credit/debit cards

I have had more than two occasions so far where my Uber driver preferred cash payment to debit card. When I registered for an Uber account late last year when they launched, I obviously chose cash payment. I did not have any issues with my payments until I added my debit card.

On one occasion while getting back home from a shopping spree, I hailed Uber and when he learnt that I was using by debit card instead of cash, he immediately offered to decline taking me. I cancelled my ride at which I was immediately charged Ugx 5,000 before agreeing to using the manual way of billing.

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In another instance, I was travelling back home with friends whom I offered to house an Uber ride. Once the driver arrived and learnt that I was going to use my card, again the driver insisted on me using cash. Once again, I had to cancel the ride and suffer a charge of Ugx 3,000 (prices where reduced). This time with advice from a friend, I complained to Uber who then refunded by money.

“We highly encourage our partner drivers to be mindful and professional when accepting requests and this includes not differentiating between card and cash users. I’d like to let you know that your thoughts regarding this matter have been brought to the appropriate department’s attention.” ~ Uber support.

So I was interested in knowing why this has been consistently the case with almost every Uber driver I have used.

When I engaged with the first driver, he told me that Uber delayed paying them. You have to reach a certain threshold before payments are dished out to your account. It seems to me that most Uber drivers want their money as soon as work is done which is why the prefer cash payment. For case of the second driver, he simply didn’t have enough fuel. He had hoped that with cash payment, he would be able to first fuel his car from the journey fares before taking us.

I have since tried to switch back to cash, but the Uber app will always prioritize your card over cash even though cash is listed as one your payment methods. My only option now is to delete my current Uber account enable to re-activate the cash option.