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Complete Guide to Loans for Uber Drivers
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The rise of Uber has made decent-paying work accessible to many who might otherwise struggle to find a job. As an Uber driver, all you need is a car and a driver’s license to get started earning far above minimum wage.
However, there are costs involved in becoming an Uber driver, especially if you don’t have a car. Or, if you’re already an Uber driver, maybe you have to pay for a car repair or upgrades that you don’t want to or can’t cover out-of-pocket.
One way that you can cover the upfront costs of becoming an Uber driver is by taking out a personal loan. Personal loans are a great option because they can be used for almost anything and often have low rates and favorable repayment terms.
This guide goes over which loans for Uber drivers are available, whether or not Uber drivers qualify for SBA loans, and more.
Types of Loans Uber Drivers Can Consider
Here are some types of loans Uber drivers may want to consider:
Unsecured Personal Loans
Taking out a personal loan can give you access to larger sums for purchasing a car than a regular auto loan or, if you already have a car, you can use the funds for repairs or upgrades to it.
Personal loans often have relatively low, fixed interest rates and you can choose a repayment term that fits your budget. The application and disbursement process usually only takes a few days so you can get your money fast.
Most personal loan eligibility requirements are based on your credit history and income. The better your credit score, the lower the rate you will typically receive.
You may also want to learn more about personal loans for those who are temporarily employed as lenders may not consider Uber drivers full-time employees.
Another type of loan to consider is dealer financing.
With this option, you can obtain financing straight from the car dealer. These loans work like other auto loans, except that the car dealer originates the loan instead of a bank or other financial institution.
Bear in mind that since these are private loans between both parties, they can be rather expensive compared to traditional auto loans.
Secured Car Loans & Secured Personal Loans
Secured car loans and secured personal loans are options suitable for individuals without the best credit or income that may not be approved for unsecured loans.
Secured loans allow you to qualify for relatively low interest rates by using your car or something else as collateral for the loan.
If you add a cosigner to your application, you may also be able to qualify for a substantially lower interest rate. However, if you miss payments, you may lose the car, which, if you’re an Uber driver, would result in loss of income.
Bad Credit Car Loans & Bad Credit Personal Loans
Bad credit car loans and personal loans are designed for individuals with a relatively low credit score and no cosigner, who might not otherwise qualify. The interest rates on these loans will be higher than a normal auto loan or personal loan, but the qualifying requirements are much lower.
Once you make a certain amount of payments on time, you can refinance your bad credit car loan and obtain regular interest rates if you can improve your interest rate during this time.
SBA Loans for Uber Drivers
Under the CARES Act, the Small Business Administration (SBA) created new programs to support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, including those who were self-employed, gig workers, sole proprietors, or independent contractors, meaning most Uber and Lyft drivers qualified for these loans.
The SBA loans fund created by the CARES Act is now out of funding and no more SBA loans are available at this time.
No new applications for COVID-19 relief loans or grants are being accepted, though the SBA is still offering PPP loan forgiveness and EDIL increases. You can learn more on the COVID-19 relief options page of the SBA website.
5 Best Personal Loans for Uber Drivers
As an Uber driver, whether you’re looking to cover expenses, upgrade your vehicle, or invest in your business, obtaining a personal loan can be a strategic move. It’s essential to find a lender that recognizes the unique nature of your income and work status. Below, we explore lenders who are favorable to gig economy workers, taking into account various credit backgrounds.
AmOne (Best for Okay to Good Credit)
AmOne stands out for Uber drivers with fair to good credit. They match drivers with lenders who are likely to understand the fluctuating nature of gig economy earnings. Their service, which conducts a soft credit inquiry, helps Uber drivers explore loan options without harming their credit score, ensuring they can keep their finances on track while they continue to navigate the roads.
Spring Loans (Best for Bad Credit and No Credit)
Spring Loans offers a lifeline to Uber drivers who struggle with bad credit or have yet to build a credit history. With a model that looks beyond credit scores and considers income stability, Spring Loans can provide financial solutions that take into account the inconsistent cash flows that are often part of the gig economy.
First Premier Lending (Best for Bad Credit)
First Premier Lending is attuned to the needs of Uber drivers with less-than-stellar credit. They offer a chance to secure funds that could be pivotal in maintaining or upgrading a vehicle, which is essential for an Uber driver’s livelihood. Their process acknowledges the potential and current financial reality of applicants rather than focusing solely on credit history.
Upgrade (Best for Good to Great Credit)
Upgrade is an excellent option for Uber drivers with good to excellent credit looking for competitive rates and terms. Their loans can be particularly helpful for larger investments, such as a newer car model to meet Uber’s luxury service standards or adding advanced safety features to ensure higher ratings and more business.
BestEgg (Best for Good Credit)
BestEgg provides Uber drivers who have maintained a good credit rating with a straightforward loan application process and quick funding, which can be crucial for immediate vehicle-related needs or unexpected expenses. Their competitive interest rates and reputation for strong customer service make BestEgg a solid choice for drivers looking to invest in their Uber business while managing their financial health.
Reasons an Uber Driver Might Need a Loan
One way that Uber differs from other jobs is that you need a piece of equipment, namely a car, that fits certain requirements. Getting the right vehicle can incur substantial costs, as you can see in the section below.
Upgrade Current Vehicle
Uber has certain vehicle requirements that you must meet if you want to qualify for a driving position.
First, the car must be less than 15 years old. Also, Uber must deem the car as in “good condition,” without any visible blemishes or cosmetic problems.
Since the criteria exclude the vehicles of many lower-income workers, prospective drivers must pay to remove damages from their cars, or even buy a new car entirely.
Purchase Car to Become a Driver
Purchasing a newer car is the only option for people who want to become Uber drivers but have cars that are more than 10 years old, or who do not own a car at all. However, many simply cannot afford to cover the cost of a newer car upfront, which is where loans can be helpful.
How to Use a Loan to Become an Uber Driver
Once you have the funds in hand, you can take all of the steps necessary to become an Uber driver. See the following section for a breakdown of the process.
1) Buy a Car with a Personal Loan or Auto Loan
First, pick a specific car that you plan to purchase with your car loan, or a couple of cars that you will consider, and note the prices. Make sure that you request a loan amount that will supply you with the necessary funds to purchase this car.
2) Apply to be an Uber Driver
With your car at the ready, now you can submit an application to Uber. Completing an application with Uber is fairly quick, and you can typically pass the background check and start driving within a week.
Meeting Uber’s Car Requirements
If you qualify to become a driver, you then have to make sure that your car meets Uber’s minimum requirements. The main requirements for cars to b eligible for Uber are:
- The vehicle should be 15 years old or less
- The vehicle should have 4 doors, with seating and seatbelts for at least 4 individuals
- The vehicle should not be salvaged or rebuilt
- The vehicle should not be a rental vehicle (unless through Uber)
- The vehicle should not have any clear cosmetic damage, commercial branding, taxi paint jobs, or missing pieces
3) Use Your Uber Income to Make Payments
Once your vehicle is certified and you begin driving, you’ll start earning income. With this income, you can make payments on your personal loan or auto loan.
Tip: Setting up automatic payments (autopay) is a great way to make sure you don’t miss any!
What Happened to Uber Car Financing?
Uber has obviously had a surge of popularity over the past decade, with more people using the app as passengers, and more and more people becoming drivers to make some money.
Even with so many people becoming drivers, Uber wasn’t really happy with the numbers and tried to lure even more people behind the wheel.
This is how they came up with their (now defunct) Uber financing problem. While it seemed like a great idea in the beginning, this poorly executed program allowed many drivers with bad credit to get a loan—but at great cost.
According to the NPR Marketplace, the Uber terms were almost impossible to keep, and the price tag was pretty hefty. You could end up paying $1,000 every month for a Kia Optima, and you’d have to pay an interest rate of well over 22%. That’s a fair amount of money to pay for just one car.
Plus, once someone took out a loan from Uber, the payments were automatically taken from their paycheck. This was great if you had a good income from Uber, and low payments to make—but if your income was low and you had a ridiculous payment to make, you’d end up burying yourself in even more debt.
Towards the end of the program, Uber reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission for predatory lending practices and had to pay $20 million to drivers in 19 cities.
On top of the things outlined above, the FTC also accused Uber of exaggerating how much drivers could make and misleading them on the Uber loan terms.
Renting a Car Through Uber
Uber now allows drivers to rent cars through its partners. Cars come with insurance, basic maintenance, unlimited mileage, and more.
This is how it works:
- Pick a car from one of Uber’s vehicle partners with no or low upfront costs.
- Use the car to drive for Uber, making money that you can partially use to pay for the car.
- Return the car when you’re done.
You can learn more about renting a car through Uber here.
Are There Payday Loans for Uber Drivers?
Uber drivers are often in need of money. If it’s not to buy gas, then it may be for something like reconditioning their cars.
For them to get as many clients as possible, their vehicle needs to be in peak condition—which is why so many people are tempted to opt for payday loans, many of which don’t require a credit check.
Payday loans (sometimes called cash advance loans) come with extremely high interest rates and short repayment terms. If you can’t pay off your payday loan on time, you may have to take out another to pay off the original loan—often leading to a cycle of debt that is hard to get out of.
We recommend avoiding payday loans if at all possible. Exhaust all the options listed above before even considering taking out a payday loan.
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Final Thoughts on Loans for Uber Drivers
Driving for Uber is an accessible means of income for many, including immigrants and noncitizens, but the main obstacle for many is getting a relatively new and expensive vehicle.
Loans for Uber drivers are a solid option for covering this cost or for making repairs or upgrades to a current car. With a new or upgraded car from a personal loan or one of the other options listed above, you can gain access to a huge income opportunity.