Tonight, I took a taxi from point A to point B (both being in the same city, Liverpool, UK), but I only had 5 pounds on me, so I asked the driver if I could pay with a card, because it was advertised inside the taxi that I could, to which he responded that he doesn't take cards but the other driver with whom he shares the car does. What he did was, stop the meter at about 5.25-5.50 and drove a few more meters.

I previously told him that I only had 5 pounds on me. I offered to go inside my house grab some change, but he said that it's fine, so he accepted the five pounds, and I left.

Is this alright?

I'm not thinking of reporting him at all, I'm worried he might report me.

This happened in Liverpool, UK.

  • 33
    You can make a complaint to the taxi company. It is not supposed to happen, but it is very common. The drivers resent cards only accept them to stay competitive with Uber and Lyft. But you came to an agreement, £5 for a £5.50 journey, can't complain too much. Your other option in future is to check before you get in, or say "card is all I have" and see if the machine magically bursts into life. Or use an app-based taxi solution of course....
    – Calchas
    Commented Sep 17, 2017 at 10:19
  • 6
    "I don't take cards" is much different than "The equipment needed to accept a credit card is not present in this taxi". Though it might be a violation of his contract with his employer.
    – dotancohen
    Commented Sep 17, 2017 at 14:34
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    I have to say it's unclear to me why a driver would accept cash totalling less than the metered fare rather than a credit card for the full amount (on which he might reasonably get a tip). A cash payment off the meter would obviously give him the opportunity to pocket the fare, but once it's on the meter that's pretty unlikely. Commented Sep 17, 2017 at 16:19
  • 5
    @Calchas: Don't bother making a complaint to the taxi company. Make a complaint to the Carriage Commission for Liverpool, or whatever municipality. OP can easily find them via Google. Tada! Liverpool City Council online taxi complaint form
    – smci
    Commented Sep 17, 2017 at 21:32
  • 12
    Genuine question: What is the actual problem? OP only had to pay £5, and taxi accepted £5. Was the driver unhappy with this or something? Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 12:42

6 Answers 6


Everywhere I go, all over the world, the first thing I say when I get in a taxi is "credit card ok?" and sometimes "I have no local currency." [I once accidentally said this in my own country because it's my "set sentence" and it just came out.] This is even before I say where I'm going. Sometimes they say no, it's not ok, and I get right back out and get in another taxi.

You ask if the deal you and your driver arranged is "ok". It was clearly ok with the driver, or he wouldn't have done it. Is it ok with you? You spent less than you otherwise would. Will someone come and complain about you or ask for more money? No, it's over and done with once you got out of the car.

If you were left irritated by it, you could call the taxi company and object, because as you say, they are supposed to take cards. This is probably why the driver went past the 5-pound mark on the meter (there is probably a limit from the company on how much they can be underpaid) and then went even further with the meter off. "Here is a small gift: please don't report me." You could report it anyway, or you could let it go.

I suggest letting it go, but always asking in future before the meter goes on.

  • 3
    I wasn't thinking of reporting him at all, I was worried he might report me. Last night I was coming from a club, and although I didn't drink much, I just wanted to get home, because it was 5 in the morning, and I was really tired. He said that he doesn't take cards, but the other driver with whom he shres the car does.
    – Wade Tyler
    Commented Sep 17, 2017 at 13:33
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    Nonetheless, thank you very much for your answer, it has put my mind somewhat at ease.
    – Wade Tyler
    Commented Sep 17, 2017 at 15:15
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    @WadeTyler What would he report you for? And to who?
    – Midavalo
    Commented Sep 17, 2017 at 22:26
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    This answer seems geared towards areas in which credit cards are not usually or always accepted by cabs. But this driver was legally required to accept credit cards. In that context, asking up-front is nothing more than waiving your rights and giving the cabbie the opportunity to illegally refuse you service, forcing you to wait for another cab (whose driver may be no more accommodating than this one). While I sympathize with cab drivers in a great many respects, and try to tip well to very well, that sympathy dies when they try to cheat people. In context, this answer is wrong.
    – KRyan
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 13:22
  • 6
    In London, not having an available card payment facility is a breach of a black cab taxi driver's terms of service; he should not be taking fares without the ability to take card payments. Pointing this out will sometimes cause the machine to come back to life.
    – A Simmons
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 16:00

In the UK we have two kinds of taxi: Hackney Carriage, and Private Hire. The former are known in London as "black cabs" and are present in other cities too. They work off the streets by demand, but they may also be saloon cars or minibus conversions. Private Hire must be pre-booked through an agency. The actual distinction is in the vehicle's license conditions and signage.

Now, many Hackney cabs also have a Private Hire account so they can accept bookings too, but if you took that taxi from a rank or hailed it on the street, that is not a contract with the hire car agency.

Having said that, although traditionally taxis are a cash business, the trade is moving forward fast. London's black cabs are now required by law to accept card payments.

Don't worry, the taxi driver will not report you. He made sure the meter was seen to go over £5 because the metered fare is the maximum that may be legally charged (except for out-of-town journeys by pre-arrangement, and by certain well known taxi agencies who manage to sidestep the local legislation).


There is no problem

You paid for the journey. You should be happy because the driver gave you a discount on the fare; the driver is happy because they got paid at a rate they were happy with.

Taxi drivers are, usually, free to come to a deal to give you a reduced fare, and there is nothing wrong in this.

  • I could see someone being unhappy if they needed the cash.
    – user541686
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 4:18

UK taxis have at least three reasons to not take cards when advertised (even though they should):

  • The system that takes cards is linked by a 3G phone, and is sometimes unreliable. If you have no cash, the driver risks not getting paid.
  • Drivers are self-employed and thus pay the cost of the credit card transaction (this is normal of the order of a pound or two, plus 2 or 3% of the fare, so not enormous). This is more significant with lower fares.
  • Some drivers (shock horror) might not report all their cash earnings for tax, therefore cash fares are worth more.

Personal experience (London not Liverpool): in London black cabs, offering a credit card used to be very unpopular when advertised. The only reliable way to pay for a black cab on a credit card was to use ComCab etc. This appears to have changed (perhaps thanks to Uber and Addison Lee) and now paying even small fares by contactless card doesn't generate a grumble, and contactless machines are pretty prevalent in London cabs.

  • The reason cards aren't popular on mainland europe is exactly that the 2-3% fee IS seen as enormous.
    – Pieter B
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 7:36
  • 1
    Those would seem to be reasons to not take cards at all, not reasons to advertise that they take cards but then not do so.
    – djr
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 9:28
  • Point #3 is the most known reason why taxidriver associations fight against Uber & similar. For me, the real horror is Governments not taking measures to force taxidrivers to honestly report their earnings as regular employees do. But this goes out of scope and is just a personal comment. Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 12:01
  • 5
    @PieterB Are you sure about that? 2-3% of £5 is 10-15p, an insignificant amount. However, there is a minimum fee amount, which is why many businesses in the UK only accept cards for amounts above £5: the actual fee paid on a £5 transaction is much more than 2-3%. And, in any case, the question is specifically about the UK, not mainland Europe. Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 13:13
  • @djr they are probably fine taking a £70 ride to the airport on a credit card. The way many cabs work (I know London best) is that what's on the cab may not be in the control of the driver - e.g. the driver rents the cab from his friend (who is a also driver) so they get better utilisation of the asset, or signs up to ComCab (or one of the other networks) so gets all their stickers and so forth but actually only wants rides sourced through ComCab to go on a card.
    – abligh
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 10:12

What happened was transactional. When you said you only had 5 quid and asked to run a credit card, he compared his interest in the two options.

Option 1: he only gets 5 quid for the ride, but it's sure cash in his hand.

Option 2: he gets 5.75, and maybe a tip, but has to process it through his credit card (which may be broken) and has a bunch of fees and expenses relating to that, and you don't know those fees. Also it may expose the transaction to his boss who may want a cut, and the government who nay want a cut. And there is probably a processing delay of a day or ten before he actually gets spendable money.

So he is making a determination of what's best for him. You can rest assured he is looking after his own self-interest, he doesn't know you.


The driver breached their contract in not accepting CCs, demanded cash, knowing the customer didn't have enough, and this caused inconvenience to the customer, and further (it's not 100% clear) dropped them short of their destination.

Make a complaint to the licensing authority for your municipality

Liverpool City Council online taxi complaint form

Also, it could help if you had a photo of the in-taxi signage that stated they accept CCs.

(You can try complaining to the company too, but they can just ignore you or lie to you or tell you to take a hike - has happened to me. But if you complain to the body wot issues their license and has the power to take it away, believe me you will get their full attention very swiftly.)

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Sep 20, 2017 at 11:53

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