Research / BFI Working PaperNov 30, 2020

Consumer Surplus of Alternative Payment Methods: Paying Uber with Cash

Fernando Alvarez, David Argente

We estimate the private benefits for Uber riders from using alternative payment methods. We focus on Mexico where riders have the option to use cash or credit cards to pay for rides. We use three field experiments involving approximately 400,000 riders to estimate the loss of private benefits for riders if a ban on cash payments is implemented. We find that Uber riders, using cash as means of payment either sometimes or exclusively, suffer an average loss of approximately 50% of their expenditures on trips paid in cash before the ban.

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