Uber Inspection station

How Uber is helping me pay off my car loan

I had the loan. I had the car. Now I just needed to pay it off… This is what happened when I signed up as an Uber driver to pay off my car loan.

When I made the decision to buy my car from my sister, my experience of Uber's ride-sharing service was limited to weekend trips to and from the city. Everyone’s heard of Uber, and while I liked using it, I never thought I would be a driver. That was until I started looking for ways to put more towards my car loan.

Finding my financing

As a writer and personal finance expert for finder.com.au, I knew finding the right loan wasn’t going to be my biggest problem. I used a personal loan calculator with each of the lenders I compared to make sure the repayments were going to be affordable.

I compared both fixed and variable rate options, and kept their restrictions in mind as I wanted to be able to make additional repayments and to pay off the loan early if I wanted to. The car I was purchasing, while relatively new, was used, which meant it wasn't eligible for some secured car loans.

After comparing my options for a few weeks, with the luxury of an easy sale from my sister, I settled on an unsecured variable rate personal loan that came with no penalties for additional or early repayments. While I could afford repayments over a two-year term, I opted for a three-year term, wanting to give my budget a bit of breathing room.

But despite that, I wanted to pay the loan off as quickly as possible. How could I beat the loan term clock and repay my loan ahead of time?

Girl driving uber

The decision to sign up with Uber

People are always looking for ways to make additional repayments to their loan, and now I was one of them. Making your lunch and bringing it into work every day, while good for some, wasn’t going to give me the kind of lump sum payments I wanted. So I looked elsewhere, and then I remembered the Uber driver sign-up ads.

“Be your own boss”

“Work your own hours”

Sounds like a dodgy Internet ad, doesn’t it? But the lure of Uber was real, and I wondered if this was a viable option to help clock up however many hours I wanted and put what I earned towards my loan. With my editor’s blessing, I decided to investigate how to sign up with Uber.

Find out how much you can really make as an Uber driver

What happens when you sign up with Uber

  • Create an account online. You can create a partner (driver) account online. Your partner account needs to have a different email address than what you used with your rider account – it took me a while to figure this out, but the customer service email team were helpful.
  • Visit a centre. You’ll receive an email with these details, but you basically need to visit an Uber centre with your licence, passport, your RMS driving history (which you have to pay for, but those costs are reimbursed when you sign-up as a driver), your car insurance details and your car. Uber has several sign-up centres, with locations and times changing week-to-week.

At the sign-up centre

I visited a centre in Mascot, with my documents and car in tow. I was greeted by a friendly Uber rep and run through a presentation that explained the partner app used by drivers, driver eligibility and a bit about Uber’s philosophy. Afterwards, I was taken upstairs to go through my documents.

The whole process was quick, with the most time-consuming element being the vehicle inspection and filling out police check documents. While everything went well, sadly, my newly-purchased car didn’t pass the vehicle inspection. With some kind advice from the inspector and a business card for an auto mechanic, I was on my way.

What I learnt at Uber

  • Uber needs drivers. Uber has more passengers than drivers and is in need of new sign-ups. As long as you meet the eligibility criteria to be a driver, company reps can help you through the process and get you working quickly.
  • The work sounded enticing. While I was unsure of whether I wanted to work as an Uber driver at first, the presentation was pretty convincing. You can work when you want, take breaks when you want and you’re paid weekly. The whole structure is transparent. The presenter said quite a few times that you would be working “with Uber, not for Uber”.
  • There are eligibility criteria. You need to be over the age of 21 and have held an unrestricted licence for at least 12 months. Your car also needs to be less than 10 years old.
  • It’s easy to make money. There’s a minimum $30 per hour guarantee for drivers in the first few weeks they work, but the presenter said this usually isn’t needed because of the number of ride requests. He also said that surge pricing (where the cost goes up during periods of high demand) makes it easy to get higher fares if you know how to use the app by picking up riders in under-served areas.

Car on highwayWhat happened after

A few days after the failed vehicle inspection and a kind message sent to my equally-uninformed sister about her misaligned front tyres, I received a call from Uber saying that I had passed the police check and could become a driver pending a successful vehicle inspection.

While the need to visit a mechanic has slightly deterred me, the vision of me zipping around the city for a few hours each weekend hasn’t faded yet. If you’re looking to put $200 extra a week towards your loan and have a few spare hours every weekend, Uber is an option you'll want to consider.

Uber wants to help you buy a car

In between buying my own vehicle and making the trip to Uber, the company announced financing partnerships that can help you get a car loan if you want to sign up as a driver. Through the Uber Marketplace, new and existing drivers can rent or buy vehicles through suppliers working with Uber. Lenders currently include SocietyOne, RideShare Solutions and easifleet.

Not ready to sign up yet?

If you're not quite ready to sign up to Uber, but still want to compare a range of loans? Use the table below to compare and see you repayments.

Rates last updated August 17th, 2017
$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Min Loan Amount Loan Term Application Fee Monthly Repayment Product Description
IMB New Car Loan
From 5.99% (fixed)
6.34%
$2,000
1 to 7 years
$250
This fixed rate new car loans up to 2 years old features no early repayment penalties
RACV New Car Loans
From 6.99% (fixed)
7.54%
$15,000
1 to 7 years
$380
Enjoy this fixed rate new car loan offer from RACV. No ongoing fees.
BOQ Car Loan
From 7.39% (fixed)
8.19%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$195
Apply for a loan from $5,000 and choose between a fixed or variable rate.
bcu New Car Loan
From 5.9% (variable)
6.82%
$4,000
1 to 5 years
$250
Borrow up to $60,000 for a car up to 7 years old. The Freedom Car Loan from bcu allows you to make extra repayments and access a redraw feature
IMB Secured Personal Loan
From 7.39% (fixed)
7.74%
$2,000
1 to 5 years
$250
A secured loan from IMB with flexible repayment features
AutoCarLoans
From 5.16% (fixed)
6.64%
$15,000
1 to 7 years
$381.80
AutoCarLoans can match you with a lender on their panel with rates starting from 5.16% p.a.
Westpac Car Loan
From 8.49% (fixed)
9.67%
$10,000
1 to 7 years
$250
Apply for a Westpac car loan and enjoy a great interest rate when you purchase a new or used vehicle.
St.George Secured Personal Loan - Fixed Rate
From 8.49% (fixed)
9.6%
$3,000
1 to 5 years
$195
Get behind the wheel of your perfect car with a competitive interest rate from St.George. Get an application response within 60 seconds.

Compare up to 4 providers

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Elizabeth Barry

Elizabeth is an editor for finder.com.au specialising in personal finance and fintech. She enjoys reading PDSs so you don’t have to.

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IMB New Car Loan

This fixed rate new car loans up to 2 years old features no early repayment penalties

Latitude Personal Loan (Secured)

Can be used for whatever purpose: renovating, buying a car, booking a holiday. Funds can be in your account in as little as 24 hours.

AutoCarLoans

AutoCarLoans can match you with a lender on their panel with rates starting from 5.16% p.a.

RACV New Car Loans

Enjoy this fixed rate new car loan offer from RACV. No ongoing fees.

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