Ridesharing isn't typically viable in the US if you want to pay with cash, but that won't be a problem now that Lyft has introduced an option to pay for rides using cash. Visit 35,000-plus stores like Walmart, ACE Cash Express and Kroger and you can present a barcode or ID number to turn physical money into a balance accessible through the Lyft app or website. You'll have to scan approved identification after requesting your first ride.
You'll need to add at least $30 whenever you contribute to the balance. Your transportation options will also be limited if you go cash-only. You have to attach a credit card or another payment option to your account if you want to hire a bike or scooter.
Lyft pitches the feature as a way to democratize rideshare services. About 7.1 million US households either had no bank accounts or only limited access to conventional financial services as of 2019, according to FDIC data, and that frequently affected communities of color. The cash option lets those unbanked people request on-demand rides without paying for cabs. We'd add that this could help if you're uncomfortable with linking payment cards to transportation services like this.
The move might give Lyft an edge in the country. Its rival Uber lets American riders use a balance to pay for trips, but they currently have to load funds using payment cards, PayPal and Venmo. For now, Lyft is your only major choice if you'd rather pay with paper.