Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Business

Uber drivers’ new option: Start a retirement account through the app

By Samantha Masunaga Los Angeles Times

Uber has teamed up with an automated investor service to offer its drivers a way to set up retirement accounts through the ride-hailing app.

As part of a pilot program, drivers in certain markets can use the Uber app to open an IRA or Roth IRA through robo-advisor Betterment without a required minimum account balance.

Drivers can use the accounts for free for the first year. After that, they pay 0.25 percent of the average account balance for the year.

Uber Technologies Inc. said Wednesday that this offer will apply to “tens of thousands of drivers” in Chicago, Boston, Seattle and New Jersey, and that it is working with New York-based Betterment to roll out the program nationwide. Uber, based in San Francisco, did not give a timeline for that expansion.

It is unclear how much the ride-hailing giant is spending on the initiative.

Betterment spokeswoman Arielle Sobel initially said both companies would contribute “non-monetary resources” to the partnership.

Later on Wednesday morning, she backpedaled, saying only that both companies would contribute “resources” and that the terms of the deal would not be disclosed. She refused to say whether her earlier comment was accurate.

Uber will not be matching driver contributions to the retirement accounts, the ride-hailing company said in an email.

Stephen Beck, managing partner of management consulting firm cg42, said the announcement is an effort to retain drivers and compete with rival ride-hailing company Lyft, as well as get some good PR.

“Does it potentially help Uber keep the drivers they have? Yes,” he said. “Does it potentially help them attract more drivers, thereby helping them drive greater availability? Yes. It makes sense.”

The move comes less than a week after a federal judge rejected Uber’s proposed $100 million bid to settle a lawsuit involving drivers’ employment status.

Uber classifies its drivers as contractors. It offered to pay the settlement rather than recategorizing the drivers as employees, which would make them eligible for benefits such as expense reimbursement and overtime.

The judge said Thursday that the proposed sum was unfairly low.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.