Uber vs. Lyft – Chase Customer

Years ago I preferred Uber to Lyft. I felt that Uber was first to market, did ride sharing better, and was faster at pick ups. But I was already a customer.

Recently I purchased a new iPhone 13 and needed to set up ride sharing. I naturally went to Uber. Their slogan is “Find no-stress rides, anytime.” Not the case. Not for me.

Creating a new Uber account I tried to connect my Chase bank card with their fancy OCR reader. It scans the card so you don’t have to manually enter the number. Impressive. The card was added, but when I went to use Uber, the card didn’t work. There was a vague error to contact Chase about payments. The bank representative walked me through how to approve Uber through my checking account management options/settings in the Chase Mobile app. While I had the guy on the phone I asked if I could verify the recent update to my address/phone (I just moved to Reno). Everything sounded good, problem solved. So I thought.

Uber still didn’t work. I called Chase back but the Chase department I needed (US Based) was not available until the morning—If you have Chase bank card problems after business hours, you are now screwed until morning. Make sure you have multiple payment options when banking with Chase when you use their bank card after business hours. You know, like when you go out to dinner without cash and only bring your chase bank card. “Sorry ms. waitress. My bank is currently closed. Please hold my card and ID until morning? I’ll be back during normal banking hours to pay for my meal.”

The next morning I walked to the convenience store to purchase a few Bang energy drinks. I tried to use the same plastic Chase card that declined Uber and bang! The card worked.

At this point I was wondering why can’t I use this on Uber?

I call the number on the error message again and Chase customer service says that I need to go into the branch. I go to Chase to withdraw some cash and the teller explains that I need to contact their online department for my Uber issue. She writes a different number for internet problems on the back of my bank receipt.

I get home and call Chase’s online department only to find out that I must take another trip to the brick-and-mortar branch to psychically get verified by a banker—all of this could have been avoided by displaying the proper error message from the start. So I travel back to the bank again and explain the Uber situation to a banker —to physically get verified, per their phone department. This is when the banker explains that an update to personal information my cause a 30 day block to an account. A block that can only be removed in branch by a banker (tellers don’t usually know this caveat). A block that only seems to effect services like Uber? The card works at the stores. It worked for Coinbase.

I just moved and updated information, so I felt this was partially my fault, but still, the error message displayed through Uber was vague and unhelpful. Again this all could have been avoided by one simple proper error code/message. I continue using the bank card for the rest of the day. Now I’m convinced that everything is A-okay.

The next day I had an appointment at 11:00am across town and needed an Uber to get there. At 10am I try to order one. Uber denies the payment method. Again. Only this time it’s a time sensitive issue. I can’t cancel this appointment. Have you ever canceled with the IRS?

Frantic and fed up with Uber, I go to Lyft and download the app. I easily breeze through a few simple steps and then pause when asked to manually enter my card number. Now I’m as nervous as a coffee addict who’s been up drinking Red Bull all night. I slowly and carefully enter the card number and the app works. My Lyft driver is on his way! About 8 minutes from customer sign up to Lyft driver at my front door. Now that’s service! The driver drove for both Uber and Lyft and expressed his concerns for Uber in exchange of me venting mine. Lyft pays their drivers better than Uber he said. Most drivers prefer driving for Lyft. They must also be more lenient on card technicalities. It was probably an improper zip code attached because of my recent move. I still don’t know.

A couple weeks latter Uber sends me an email asking if I need help with support/customer service and provides a link. I still haven’t Ubered anywhere. I use Lyft.

Lyfting right along, two months pass. On a Lyft ride to work, I forgot my ID badge at home. In Lyft terms, I had to book an additional stop, only I was too late. As the Lyft driver turned into my work I asked if I could extend my trip. He said no. He said with a smile, “I already booked another ride.” I was still in the car. How could you book another ride and refuse to complete mine? No worries, I’ll just grab another one. I still tip the guy.

I get out, open the app and book another Lyft for 2 miles down the road only to find out It’s $20! Almost twice the normal price. It only cost me $13 to have the Lyft driver drop me off a moment ago from twice the distance. I figure Lyft is taking advantage of the fact that I forgot something and urgently need to travel again. Either that or they think I’m a drug dealer and they want to tax me on my delivery. I decide not to Lyft. I don’t need to spend $40 round trip for my ID badge today.

Another few weeks go by. I book a Lyft up the road to a remote, secluded community in the hills. The price, $20. Fair fare. Several hours later it’s time to go back home. I try to book a Lyft back home, $52! I close the app and try again. The price didn’t change. Why would it? They know what they are doing. I’m in a bedroom community without public transportation and If I wan’t to get home, I’ll either have to pony up or walk.

I decided to check Uber. Just to see how much money Lyft is trying to extort from me. Uber wants $12! $12 for the same ride at the same time that Lyft wants $52. There was a discount applied, but even without one, the Uber ride would have cost $20. So I book with Uber.

No drivers. I wait and wait and then I realize something. Most drivers use both apps. Lyft and Uber. And I ask myself, are they able to see that I just attempted to solicit a ride with Lyft and am now trying to get the same ride from Uber at a fraction of the cost? I wait, and wait some more. I start to feel like I’m going to have to book with Lyft and pay the exorbitant fee, when an Uber driver pops up to the rescue at $12.

I get Deja Vu when my card is declined. I reminisce on the previous card issue. I just need to set up my card again. So I do, and the Chase card goes through this time. Hooray. Uber is on thee way, for four times cheaper than Lyft.

Now I’m thinking we need another two or three ride services to keep rates competitive.

Lyft price gouged me twice in a month, and Uber failed card verification on account creation will Lyft didn’t. The more ride sharing services the better. I hope in the future there are so many ride sharing apps, that you’ll need to download an app to manage and consolidate all your ride sharing apps.

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