Avoiding Cross Border Fees (and Other Hidden Costs) with Uber Singapore

UPDATE (08 August 2016): You are still subjected to Cross Border Fees even if you add a Citibank Credit Card to PayPal! 

I am generally a huge Uber fan and on average, I make use of the service (mostly UberX) at least five times a week. While there are many other substitutes around (e.g. GrabTaxi, CDG and Hailo), I feel that Uber has the most transparent pricing available and it also offers the most fuss-free experience. 

Read about my conversation with an Uber Driver HERE!

What you might not know though is that in some cases, what you see in your Uber app is not always what you are being charged on your credit card statement. There are many reasons for this and I am going to cover them (so we can all avoid this unintentionally):

 Uber TAXI Gratuity

Uber TAXI Gratuity

1. You Pay 20% More on TAXI Trips

If you have just signed up for Uber and you're ready to jump in, do note that a default 20% TAXI Gratuity is enabled in your account. This can only be changed (to 0% if you wish) via the website so be sure to take note of this before you call for your first taxi experience via Uber. While I generally advocate tipping, I also believe that not all drivers should be rewarded with this default 20% gratuity (just because some are amazing and well, some are horrible). 

Click HERE to change your Uber TAXI Gratuity amount now!

2. You may be Paying Cross-border and Foreign Transaction Fees (0.8% to 3.25%)

Even though you are billed in Singapore Dollars (SGD), some banks and credit card companies will charge you a cross-border or foreign transaction fee of 0.8% to 3.25% (depending on which credit card you used). The only way that I know to get around this situation is to use a Citibank Credit Card (my personal favourite is the Citibank PremierMiles Visa Card). Please do leave a comment below if you have further knowledge on this matter. 

 Uber Cancellation Fee

Uber Cancellation Fee

Another easy way to get around this is to add your credit card as a default payment in a PayPal account and then select PayPal as default payment in Uber. This way, you would be able to add whichever card you want to - even a particular prepaid American Express card that shall not be named! 

3. Cancelling a Trip may Cost you S$6! 

Uber is great when everything works according to plan (and it usually does) but once in a while you will meet an Uber Driver who is either taking way too long to come to you (e.g. a driver took 20 minutes more than the ETA to find me earlier this week) or they claim they can't cancel the trip (and only you can) due to whatever reasons they may have. Firstly, both the driver and the rider can cancel a trip - the only reason they are telling you this is because they get penalised with the cancellation charge if it is initiated from them and more importantly they lose their incentive if a trip is cancelled (e.g. an Uber driver may receive a cash bonus for 20 successful and consecutive trips). If you cancel a trip within five minutes from the time an Uber car has been assigned to you, there will be no cancellation charge. If you do cancel after 5 minutes, a cancellation charge of S$6 will be levied. However, if an Uber driver takes more than 5 minutes ON TOP OF the ETA prpvided, you may cancel without penalty. I did have to manually write in to Uber to get S$6 credited back to my account  despite the driver taking over 15 minutes more than the ETA though so this is something you should watch out for.