Have you heard about Uber’s new Rewards Debit Card? If not, we’ve got you covered. RSG contributor Melissa Berry will cover what the debit card is, what its benefits are, and if it’s good for drivers. Senior RSG contributor Christian Perea also contributed to this article.
Uber also has a Visa credit card that is targeted more towards riders but the new debit card will be exclusively for drivers. Debit cards traditionally don’t offer many benefits or rewards, so it’s cool to see a product like this.
Note: You’ll likely be able to get better rewards with a credit card but remember, this product is a debit card! For those who don’t have a high credit score, this debit card may be the only option.
The Uber Visa Rewards Debit Card
Most notable about this new card is that it’s a debit card with GoBank, and not a credit card. This should make it easier for all drivers, regardless of credit, to qualify for this card and start reaping the benefits almost immediately.
As far as debit cards go, the terms are fairly generous. There are:
- No minimum balances
- No overdraft fees
- No set up, monthly, or annual fees
It’s also free to get out cash from GoBank’s ATM network, but there is a $2.50 charge at out-of-network ATMs and bank tellers, plus any fee that ATM owner or bank may charge (basically your standard double-sided ATM fees found at 90% of banks).
Perks of the Uber Visa Debit Card
This debit card is different from Uber’s old fuel card, starting out with the fact that you are eligible for all of the perks below immediately once you get and activate your debit card. No more “have to give 100 rides to qualify” like the fuel card!
Before you can access the perks below, you have to do three things: activate your card, opt in to the reward program, and remain opted-in to the reward program. Then you’ll start to receive the following perks:
- 3% Cash Back at Exxon and Mobil gas stations when you use use their PIN at the pump
- 1.5% Cash Back at all other gas stations (a common complaint of the Uber fuel card was not being able to use it at cheaper gas stations; that problem is now eliminated)
- 2% Cash Back at Walmart for in-store and online purchases (you can also make free deposits into your checking account at participating Walmart stores)
- 15% discount on select automotive maintenance services at Jiffy Lube
- 10% Cash Back on auto part purchases at Advance Auto Parts and participating Carquest Auto Parts locations. (Maximum of $100 per month on up to $1,000 total spending per month on purchases.)
- 8% Cash Back when you pay your monthly Sprint bill and on purchases in Sprint corporate retail stores or online at sprint.com. (Maximum of $50 per month per account on up to $625 total spending per month on purchases.)
Other Uber Visa Debit Card features include 24/7 roadside assistance from Urgent.ly covering tow, tire change, and more (4 incidents total) for $0.49 a month with sign-up; free withdrawals at tens of thousands of ATMs nationwide; and the ability to cash out earnings on Instant Pay for free up to 5 times a day.
Should Drivers Get The Uber Visa Rewards Debit Card?
Even after reading through the terms, this isn’t a bad deal for drivers since a debit card, unlike a credit card, will only let you spend what you have.
The card advertises that you can overdraft up to $100 without penalty, but there are a lot of conditions attached: you have to have given 250 rides, 80 in the last 30 days, enroll in the Backup Balance program, and NOT opt out of “information sharing” with GoBank. If you don’t meet those conditions, the card will probably just be declined.
We couldn’t find any hidden language around overdraft fees in the deposit account agreement. So it appears that this card is engineered to prevent users from incurring overdraft fees.
No monthly maintenance fees or minimum balances is a big plus – here in Phoenix, even many of the local credit unions charge fees for their checking accounts, so from my perspective, the fact that GoBank isn’t charging you any fees for the debit card (and what is essentially a mini-checking account) is a huge plus.
Gas Purchases and Stacking
I think the “keystone” feature of this card is that the gas rewards are applied without limits, meaning you could feasibly gain 1.5% or 3% back on all fuel purchases throughout the course of a year.
Our research and experience has shown that a typical full-time driver with a 2012 Prius will spend about $3,274 a year on gas. That translates to a reward of somewhere between $49.11 – $98.22 in rewards. That assumes you only fill up with this card and the terms don’t change. Although that’s nice, I’m not sure it’s compelling.
The benefits could stack nicely if you already use any of the above participating retailers. If you use Sprint, shop at Walmart often, and prefer to use Jiffy Lube, your incentives for getting this card can start to get much larger. Uber states the “merchants are subject to change”, meaning Uber could one day partner with Verizon or Target. That being said, I wouldn’t switch debit cards right now if I were happy with my current bank.
However, many drivers might not want to go through the extra hassle of opening another bank account and having their earnings deposited into GoBank. Especially for those who prefer to have a network of brick and mortar bank branches and the simplicity of keeping their earnings in once place. Depositing your Uber earnings into a GoBank account (accessed by this debit card) may not be worth the switching costs and extra friction of dealing with an extra financial institution.
You might be able to get around this bottleneck by transferring your Uber GoBank money into Paypal, and then into your normal checking account. However, that’s still a lot of friction to just to take advantage of the rewards program.
Better Than the Fuel Card
Overall, this card is appealing, particularly if you do use Sprint, visit Walmart, or don’t currently use any other gas card/receive other gas perks. It’s difficult to find rewards debit cards and what is essentially a free mini-checking account in 2018. Also, given the nature of how overdrafting operates on the card, it seems like this card has been put together to prevent drivers from getting into trouble. That’s always nice.
One upside to having a seperate GoBank account for your Uber earnings might be that it makes it easier to track and isolate your Uber driving expenses and income when you are doing your bookkeeping and taxes later in the year.
Although I see a lot of value in this card for the right person and situation, Personally, I’ll probably just stick with depositing my Uber earnings into my usual account because I’d rather deal with just one bank. Strong card, good for drivers, not for me.
Where do I get this card?
You can apply to get the Uber Visa Debit Card by going to Instant Pay from your Uber driver portal and following the instructions there. If approved, you’ll receive your card in 5-7 business days.
What if I already have the Uber Debit Card?
Then you’ll just log into your GoBank account and accept new terms to be enrolled in the Rewards program!
Is there a credit check?
According to Uber, “there are no credit checks. Anyone is welcome to apply, and most people will be approved within minutes.” ID verification is required.
How do I earn cash back?
After you use your card at the participating retailers, the Uber Visa Debit Card will put money back into your checking account automatically. Cash Back will be added to your account, but it may take 7 business days to appear.
Drivers, does the Uber Rewards Debit Card appeal to you? Are you currently using this debit card? Let us know your thoughts and/or your experience with it in the comments below.
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-Melissa @ RSG
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