Uber Xchange Leasing Program: A Game Changer

When Uber announced their new Xchange Leasing Program last week, I didn’t think much of it.  On the surface it looked ok, but after their fiasco of a leasing program with Santander, I just couldn’t imagine it would be all that great.  But after taking a closer look, we thought, hey this isn’t half bad!  Today, RSG contributor, Christian Perea provides us with the most thorough review to date of the program, what it means for drivers and how you can get started.

If you’re a new driver and you haven’t signed up for Uber yet, this could be a great way to test it out.  New Uber drivers can get up to a $500 sign-up bonus depending on your city.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of all the leasing/rental options available for rideshare drivers, please check out our new Uber and Lyft Vehicle Marketplace page.

You may have heard last week that Uber launched a new leasing program called Uber Xchange. This program has created a lot of buzz since it launched as a pilot in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego.  (Also, select cities in Maryland and Georgia)

Now I should make it clear that I am always skeptical of any “Vehicle Solutions” that come from Uber. This stems from the previous and infamous Santander S.A. partnership that put a lot of drivers into subprime auto-loans that tied the driver to UberX. Uber then dropped prices repeatedly. For many, the Uber Vehicle Solution’s program became an exotic pet that quickly turned on its owner. That being said..

This Program Looks REALLY Good.

Uber is always looking for ways to retain effective drivers.  Effective can be defined as any partner who drives ten or more hours per week on the platform. As we are well aware, a great deal of money has been spent on acquiring drivers over the last year and only 50% remain active on the platform.

Even this is a generous number because Uber only considers a driver  “as not using the service over the next 6 months” inactive. So in reality, the retention rate is probably far worse for effective partners.

In order to meet the demand for more drivers, Uber is placing a bet that they can burn some capital (for now) with the Xchange Leasing program. Xchange Leasing is a subsidiary company of Uber (similar to Raiser) which is setup to operate at cost with the goal of getting more drivers on the road with flexible financing. This in turn will lower the biggest barrier to entry for potential drivers; having a car. 

Lets take a quick look at the features of the Uber Xchange Lease;

  • Unlimited mileage.
  • Lease as low as $98.00/week (not including taxes and fees)
  • Decent range of vehicles, including some that are eligible for UberXL.
  • Ability to terminate lease with 2 weeks notice AFTER 30 days  and $250.00 disposition fee.
  • Oil Changes, Tire rotations, and cabin air filter replacement.
  • Quickish credit decisions.

This program stands to save drivers a lot of money over alternatives (like the Breeze lease). And I really think Uber is making a bold move by allowing for unlimited mileage in the Xchange program. This eliminates the depreciation factor for many drivers who can simply return their lease when they have racked up the miles and depreciation. If you live in an area with long pickup distances, this can be a game-changer.

This sample seems too good to be true.

Taking a look at Uber’s marketing material,  we see an example of some “sample” lease terms. It seems almost too good to be true. Those who are leasing from Breeze are paying $195.00 a week for a Prius. As seen in the chart above, the Xchange program could be half the weekly cost of Breeze with unlimited mileage and flexible returns.

Since the program allows for the lessee (you) to determine the best car and price point for themselves, they can increase the likelihood of staying on top of payments all the while continuing to drive for Uber. So Uber wins and the driver wins.

Eligible Vehicles



One of the exciting aspects of the Xchange Leasing program is that it does not limit you to a Prius. I think this is nice as some drivers may not want to always be limited to a Prius when they can find a similar priced hybrid model like a Camry or Altima. Some drivers prefer to be a little unique or to have a nice cabin since they sit in their cars for prolonged periods of time.  Ideally, I would find a manually operated Jetta TDI or this 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX. (Okay, you probably won’t get one through Xchange Leasing, but one can dream right?)

You will also see some UberXL vehicles that qualify for this program. Vehicles like the Toyota Sienna and Toyota Highlander can all seat six. This opens up leasing options for those who want to do UberXL. It also allows for a driver to “test” UberXL by leasing a six seater vehicle through the Xchange program to determine whether or not the extra investment in gas and maintenance are worth the extra in fares.

Related Article: The Definitive Guide to Uber Plus and Uber XL

What is the Sign-Up Process Like?

If you drive in an available city, you will be able to access the Xchange Leasing  option from the driver dashboard. Once you do so, you will be asked to check two boxes, and then you will be presented with the following screen;

Clicking “Apply Now” will generate a hard inquiry on your credit report.

Watch Out: Clicking “Apply Now” will generate a hard hit on your credit. This has been confirmed by someone who got a little click happy on this blog.

From here, you will wait a few days for Uber Xchange to determine whether or not they will approve you for a lease. Uber’s goal is to do it in less than two days, but at this time they expect it to take a little longer due to high initial demand.

As of now, we are unaware of the exact underwriting standards for applicants but we can guess that it is in Uber’s interest to qualify as many drivers as possible once they pass the background check. So from here on out, we will assume you are approved.

What Happens If I Am Approved?

Basically once you are approved, Uber will give you its terms for the lease you are approved for. It will provide you with a list of network dealers who are working with the Xchange Program who supposedly have a partnership to offer discounts on Uber vehicles while working in tandem with Uber Xchange.

From here, you get to go shopping between the list of dealerships. This means that you do the individual haggling for each vehicle and that each deal and vehicle are a little different. I think this is a good thing as it allows for some more savvy drivers to possibly strike a sweet deal. It also allows for the sort of flexibility to make the vehicle right for the individual and their situation.

Pain Point: Dealing with Dealerships

04-27-15Good and Bad Car Dealer Lists Graphic (1)
Obligatory Shady Salesman Picture

Instead of just jumping into a brand new Prius like with Breeze, you do have to go out to dealerships listed as partners with Uber. You conduct the test drives, and probably have to deal with the sales guys. The process of shopping for a car for many is daunting and intimidating. I recommend that you do your research on each vehicle and be diligent in estimating what each deal brings to you.

Now we haven’t actually found anyone who has gone through this part of the program yet, so this is where we really want to hear back from the community on their experience.  Please leave a comment below if you’ve been approved and/or have visited with a dealership.

Don’t Get Screwed

Having independent partner dealerships leads to some questions about how you will be received by each dealership. What will happen when I show up to the Hyundai dealership and tell them that Uber sent me for the Xchange Leasing program? I would recommend calling each listed dealership and asking who handles it the leasing program in order to avoid confusion.

Uber partnerships like this have a solid history of trying to take advantage of drivers. So I am really interested to see how the dealerships that partnered with Uber treat drivers. Past grievances range from inspection locations that extort drivers to fix things which don’t need to be fixed, to the infamous Santander program.

I remember when the 20 point inspection was launched, Uber partnered with several shops in each market. As these shops slowly figured out what “YouBer” was, they quickly adapted and began to work some angles on drivers saying that things needed to be replaced that weren’t in “Perfect” condition. ExpressTire in Chula Vista tried this on me, and it turned out that the repairs I needed were somehow the EXACT same price as the credit line they were offering me…

If you’re in need of a good mechanic, you can try out YourMechanic.

Strike a Deal

Of course this may potentially present some opportunity though too. Perhaps working with the dealership may give you room to strike your own deal that may significantly lower your weekly payment. Remember that the lower the vehicle cost, the lower the lease payments will be and the more you can brag about your deal on Facebook!

We haven’t yet found anybody who has gone through the whole process of signing up, so your results may vary by each dealership and who you speak to. If you strike a good deal, please write in to us! We want to hear if you partake in a good dealership-haggle-victory!

Use HyreCar While You Find The Best Deal

Before you sign-up for a lease we would recommend that you drive a little bit to make sure rideshare driving is a good fit for you. HyreCar allows you to rent a car on daily, weekly, or monthly basis. It’s well worth doing to ensure you make the right choice. If you return your Xchange Lease you will not be able to get into another Xchange Leasing vehicle. So research is key.

HyreCar is a rental market specifically for Uber and Lyft drivers. You can rent a car from a person in a similar to an AirBnB. Renting first will help you make sure that you end up with the right car for Xchange Leasing since you can rent several different cars before you commit to a single model. You are going to spend A LOT of time in whatever car you get through Xchange Leasing. So make sure its the right one.

You can sign up here: HyreCar

Another nice thing about HyreCar is that it allows you to rent a car that qualifies for UberXL or Uber Select when a big event comes to town. This allows flexibility in operating different Uber products. It is also very useful for when your car is in the shop. Further, if you want to take a break from driving you can turn the tables and rent your car out to other Uber or Lyft drivers!

This Program is Still Very New

We still want to hear about the whole process of finding a car at the dealership once one of you finally goes through with this. If you happen to get into a deal with Xchange Leasing, we want to hear from you and ask you a lot of questions about your experience! So please contact us.

We will provide updates and be following this program very closely as it develops for drivers. We want to provide the oversight that was needed on the last program. So send me anything that catches your eye.  Once one of us gets approved, we’ll be heading to some dealerships with our paperwork, to see what kind of deals we can score.

If you’d like to sign up for Uber, they are currently offering bonuses up to $500 depending on your city.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of all the leasing/rental options available for rideshare drivers, please check out our new Uber and Lyft Vehicle Marketplace page.


Can I drive my Xchange Leased Uber car for other rideshare services or for personal use?


Do I have to drive Uber every week to pay my Xchange lease?

Uber is saying they will be allowing for flexible payments via credit card or other methods beyond paying directly through the Uber Partner App, which means that you should be able to make a manual payment if you do not drive for a week or two. This may come in handy if you choose to just lease through Uber and drive for Lyft.

How do I return my Xchange vehicle?

We don’t know yet, but the fine print says that you have to have leased it for 30 days and that you need to provide two weeks notice before you return it. Upon returning the vehicle there is a $250.00 disposition fee. I think it’s worth it.

What cities/states are Uber’s Xchange Leasing Program Available?

Georgia, Maryland, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.

When is Uber’s Xchange Program coming to my city?

There are no finite details but the program seems to be drawing a lot of rapid interest and Uber is pretty open about wanting to expand it. I would expect for them to start rolling it out after a few months to other markets if it proves to be a successful model.

Do they have any cars that qualify for Uber Black/Plus/Select?

Not at this time. Its all UberX and XL.

How does maintenance work with Xchange Leasing?

Oil Changes, Tires rotation, and cabin air filters are supposed to be included in the lease. That being said, I would really like to know what happens if you break a shock or damage a part of the car that is not under warranty. My guess is that you would have to pay out of pocket to replace that part. We will update this once we get verification from a driver on the program.

Drivers, what do you think about the new Uber Xchange Leasing Program?   Does it sound like something you want to be a part of or is it too good to be true?

-Christian @ RSG