Uber Hikes New User Referral From $10 To $20 Amid Increased Competition From Lyft, Other Services

Recently, Uber has bumped its new user referral fee from $10 to $20 for new users of the service through January 20th, as noticed by Homebrew’s Hunter Walk and sent out to users in an email that TechCrunch has received. The feature gives existing users a credit when they get a new user to sign up with their referral link.

The new user also gets $20 in Uber credit applied to their new account. That’s about two free rides if they’re not too long right up front.

The email reads:

Cheers to the New Year! We want to make sure you start 2014 off on the right foot, so we’re doubling our referral bonus. Invite your friends to try Uber through January 20, and for each friend that rides you’ll receive $20 in free Uber credit instead of the usual $10.

The increase was piloted around the 4th of July holiday last year, when it was billed as a limited 1-week promo. This period appears to be slightly longer. As with the previous promo, if your friends don’t use Uber within the promo period, your referral gets dropped back down to $10.

Though leaked Uber revenue numbers late last year indicate that the business is growing like gangbusters, there are a bunch of other services nipping at its heels. Taxi services like Hailo are very popular in areas outside of the US (and gaining traction stateside, despite legal troubles). And one of Uber’s major competitors, Lyft, has recently shared growth metrics with TechCrunch that point to a healthy adoption rate as well.

Uber has a bunch of balls in the air right now, with big expansion plans, a sad incident involving an Uber-using driver not on an Uber trip that resulted in the death of a young girl, an ongoing story involving physical and verbal assault by a driver, new restrictive regulations in France and European competitors like Gett receiving big rounds. Boosting the referral rate is likely just one of many things Uber is doing to combat competition, but free money is always a solid draw.