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.

Betterment spokeswoman Arielle Sobel said both companies would contribute “non-monetary resources” to the partnership and that “no money was exchanged.”

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. “

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.

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