Why did Lyft reject my credit card?

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Christopher Elliott

When Howard Sorkin tries to use his preferred credit card on a Lyft ride, the company rejects it. When he switches to Uber, does the company owe him anything?

Question

I recently tried to use Lyft for a ride from Stoneham, Mass., to Logan Airport in Boston and again when I arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. I received a message that I was not at my home address and I had to put in another credit card.

Of course, I was not home. That was my main purpose in using Lyft. I did not want to use another credit card. And I wanted to charge my ride to my Delta American Express credit card so I could get my triple miles. (I did not sign up for my Delta American Express card specifically to get points from Lyft.)

Lyft led me to believe that it would use the new credit card that I submitted. After several attempts at trying to get a Lyft and to use my American Express Delta card, and wasting a huge amount of time with no success, I reverted back to Uber and gave them my business.

I lost the miles I would have gotten if I had used Lyft and my Delta American Express card. I’ve tried to get this resolved by contacting Lyft, but none of the representatives addressed my problem. Finally, I appealed to a Lyft executive. But I have not received a response. Could you find out why Lyft rejected my credit card? — Howard Sorkin, Cooper City, Fla.

Answer

You should be able to use any accepted credit card for your Lyft ride. According to the company, it accepts major credit cards (like American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover), debit cards tied to checking accounts, and prepaid cards. Passengers may also use PayPal (for iOS and Android users), Apple Pay, and Google Pay.

A quick call or email to Lyft should have straightened this out. It turns out Lyft needed a second card to verify your identity, which it should have told you. It’s not clear why you had to go through several layers of customer service and still not be able to use your preferred card — or get a straight answer.

I know that you didn’t sign up for your card specifically for the bonus and that you understand how to use a credit card responsibly. But let me say this for everyone else out there: When you start making purchases because of the perks you might get, you are turning down a dangerous road. Points and miles should be a byproduct of your spending. When they start being the reason for your spending, the credit card companies win — and you usually lose.

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Lyft should have explained why it rejected your credit card

I reviewed the correspondence between you and Lyft. It looks as if you were asking for more than your card to be accepted. You also asked Lyft to issue the triple miles you would have received from the unaccepted card. You also asked the company to provide reimbursement of the $63 you spent with Uber. While I can certainly understand your frustration with the process, I’m not sure if Lyft would be in a position to consider either of these things.

You might have escalated your case through the Lyft executives in our company contacts database. I also publish a complete guide to using Lyft, Uber and other ridesharing companies. But I would be careful about asking for too much since a company might completely ignore what it considers an unreasonable request.

There’s no excuse for ignoring you, so I contacted Lyft on your behalf.

“We looked into this and the request for another method of payment was for verification,” a Lyft spokeswoman. “It would not have prevented Howard from using the payment method he wanted to use, if he had completed that verification. Since then, the issues have been resolved, and we let Howard know he should be all set to use Lyft.”

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes weekly columns for King Features Syndicate, USA Today, Forbes and the Washington Post. He also publishes Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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