Do you put the tip on credit card or leave cash?

Not a custom I’ve ever heard of, but an excellent idea.
I usually pay by card, because even if I have cash I don’t have the right combination of cash. And in general I leave a bigger tip on the card than I do when I leave cash, partially to make up for the cuts mentioned above. Remember, the credit card company gets some too.

I have about 8-9 years of experience working in restaurants and bars. The cash tip thing is way overblown. Sure, it is nice to be able to run right out at the end of the night but any tip is appreciated. I have noticed that cc tips are the ones that shady owners tend to skim or absorb but those places are pretty rare.

My friends and I were regulars at a diner in NJ where the owner used to steal tips from the staff. He got caught because our server had known us since we were in junior high and we always left her a nice tip. Outside of that incident and one or two other servers that I have worked with, I have never heard of the tips disappearing.

Also, unless every single customer pays in cash, you are going to have to wait at the end of the night. One card or ten cards and you are waiting about the same amount of time.

Not necessarily customary but it is actually fairly common. When I was a server, it was pretty common for customers to just write “CASH” on that line. That is generally what I will do if I pay with a card and leave a cash tip.

For the OP, I pay cash when I have it but usually I just tip on my card.

I always put the tip on the credit card, because it allows me to use the tip amount as a checksum to detect fraud.

I calculate a tip amount that causes the total amount to be a round number (e.g. $34.00). I then add the whole-dollar digits together, and add that many cents to the tip ($34.07).

When I get my credit card statement, I can quickly verify that nothing has been tampered with without going back through my receipts.


I always put it on the card. Most of the time, if I am out to eat it is some kind of business meal so I want to document all of my expenses for tax purposes. It is a lot easier to just look at the CC bill for totals than to keep a notebook on what I paid to whom.

Obviously it varies depending on the restaurant but in some places they will have a statutory 10% service charge (often only applied if there are say 6 or more in the group). Sometimes I have asked whether this service charge goes to the staff and have been told it goes to the restaurant. In these cases I always ask for the service charge to be removed from the bill, so I can tip an equivalent amount in cash (in fact I will usually tip more for their trouble, if the service has been good). Often the staff are genuinely grateful for this, as when there is a 10% “service charge” 99% of people are not going to tip on top of that. In the UK here BTW, where 10% is the norm and 15% is generous for tips in restaurants.

So sometimes paying the tip in cash is not so that the waitstaff can fiddle their taxes, it’s so they get anything at all.

I realize it sounds extremely callous, but if an owner was skimming tips, I find it hard to believe that the waitstaff would just deal with it. Even at the height of the recession it wasn’t that hard to find a new waitstaff job with an honest owner. But maybe my lack of work in the food industry is showing.

I also agree with the posters upthread that helping someone evade their taxes isn’t something I find appealing. I pay my taxes, I think everyone else should too. We can argue about whether they are too high or too low but I think it’s rather uncouth to suggest they shouldn’t be paid, barring some dictatorship rising.

As for the actual question, I avoid carrying cash so I therefore always leave the tip on the card.

My reason for doing it is that I expect that if someone is working a shitty job waiting tables, there is a good chance that they’re living paycheck to paycheck. I’d rather see all of the money I left go in the pocket of someone who actually needs it than for some of it to disappear into the gaping maw of government bureaucracy.

I think it’s laughable how people go on and on about the need for all these great social programs, such as public health care and Social Security, yet think it’s virtuous to help the beneficiaries of these programs avoid their fair share of taxes.

If you want to help a waiter out, tip him/her well. If you want to help a local businessmen, do business with them. But paying cash for the sole purpose of helping them evade their taxes? No. If you want these great programs, then be prepared for EVERYONE to pay higher taxes, even people that don’t make much, because that’s the way the programs that directly benefit them are funded.

I checked with the servers at my regular places. They prefer cash for a tip. You know how a percentage of the sale goes to the credit card company? My servers tell me that same percentage of the tip goes to the credit card company if I tip that way. I am fine with the establishment paying the freight for accepting credit cards, but I want my server to get the full amount of the tip I have chosen to give. I usually write “cash” on the tip line of the receipt.

Cash if I have it on me, because I figure I’d prefer cash if I were a waitress. Otherwise it goes on the debit card.

Cash only.
My sister was victimized by a lowlife boss. He simply kept all card charged tips.

Cash if I have it, on the card otherwise. I use cash so rarely it’s not something I prepare for, so lately it’s been on the card more often.

There are many far shittier jobs than waiting tables. Why should servers be encouraged to exempt themselves from paying into the tax coffers while McDonald’s employees’ earnings should be fully taxed?

I usually have no cash or just $20s, and I hate asking for change. On the rare occasions that I’m paying by card but tipping in cash I write “CASH” on the tip line.

There was one restaurant I went to that had a sign specifically asking patrons to tip in cash, even if paying by card. I did so. The restaurant is still there, but I don’t know if the sign is.

Usually card, simply because I rarely have any cash on me.

Going out to eat somewhere that is a tipping situation is rarely a spur of the moment decision for me, so I always try to make sure I have enough cash on me to leave a tip at the table. I’m not a big spender when I eat out, so we’re not talking the need for huge amounts of cash about my person. Plus, I don’t feel totally comfortable with the whole process of adding it to the credit card…back when I was a waitress at a pizza place, we didn’t have the ability to be tipped on a card, so I’m not familiar with the process…they run my card and then go back and add on the tip afters? I’d rather the server gets their money that night so they can fill their gas tank on the way home. Plus, former Plain Dealer columnist Connie Schultz made the tipping thing a big deal around here.

I put the tip on the credit card because I am paranoid that the servers will put a tip on the CC anyway and thus double dip. I also always put a dollar sign next to the dollar amounts on the receipt so they cannot add a “1” to them. Neither has happened to me which is why I call it paranoid.

I tip with cash when I either pay with cash or when I’ve prepaid for a banquet meal that has a built-in gratuity and I get good service.

Cash. Always.

I tip in cash so the restaurant isn’t paying merchant’s fees on the tip. I write “Cash” on the tip line.