My tip didn't go through, and I feel awful! What should I do?

I was at dinner with a large number of family members (9 in total, including 2 kids), and I offered to pay. Because we were a large group, I gave a 25-30% tip, rounding to a nice even number. The waiter was wonderful.

Problem: I got home today and was looking at my bank records for other reasons, and I notice that the credit card bill only deducted the cost of the meal, not the tip. So now I feel like a gigantic jacka** for stiffing a genuinely great server.

Two questions: is this normal, and will the tip show up later? If not, how can I make up for this, since I’m only in two for a couple of days?

Do you recall his/her name? Perhaps you could go back to the same restaurant tonight with cash and see if he/she is on shift again and deliver it in person.

Or, you could just leave town and continue to feel guilty. It’ll probably wear off after a while.

I’d call the restaurant, verify with the waiter that the tip didn’t go through, get a mailing address and send him a check.

Are you sure there wasn’t an automatic gratuity applied to the bill, since there was 9 people? And then you effectively double-tipped, and they see that happen all the time (since they add an automatic gratuity) so they have a practice of not going through with the “extra” tip?

Wait and see. The tip sometimes hits the bank at a later time.

This. Especially with debit cards, in my experience.

Yes, this. I’ve seen it happen before. I think some restaurants use systems where the initial charge is held on the card, and then its reconciled a couple of days later with the amount updated.
Maybe, they audit and process every couple of days or something.

Yep. IME it takes three - five days. Or at least it does with my bank.

What they said - give it a couple more days; it might come through correctly. Happens to me frequently.

I’ve had one tip that didn’t post until a week later, so ^^^^^.

Man, I’ve never heard of this. I thought the entire transaction was posted as one payment. I’ve never seen nor heard of separate postings for the meal and the tip.

Does your monthly bill show two independent transactions? Mine never has.

No, it eventually shows as one payment. The restaurant’s first query goes to the bank that puts a hold for $X on your account. The settlement eventually goes through for $X+tip.

Some banks post these holds as pending transactions in a way that makes it look like a done deal (PNC’s online banking, for instance).

Interesting. I guess I’ve never looked closely enough on-line shortly after a meal to notice.

Along those lines: most gas stations will put a hold on some specified sum like $100.00 and then rectify it later with the actual purchase. Hotels will put a hold on the room amount and then add in all the liquor and peanuts you consumed while watching pay-per-view porno.

These are things more people wouldn’t notice day to day, but it you are living on the edge financially, it can hurt.


Also, the waiter will likely have already gotten his tip that night. When I was a waiter years and years ago, when I cashed out each night, I’d be given cash for all my tips that were on credit card receipts. If anyone gets screwed in the OP’s situation, it’ll be the restaurant.

Whew! Thanks everyone, I feel better. If there’s one thing I don’t want to be stressing about, it’s screwing service workers!

Does it show up as “pending”, or does the transaction look complete, with a date given for when it was processed?

It’s SOP for the “pending” amount to only be the cost of the meal. When they first run the card through, it places a hold for that amount on your account. It can’t hold the tip amount because you haven’t gotten your receipt to fill out and sign yet.

It may take a couple days to process, but it should process through with the final amount including tip. If it’s no longer “pending” and still doesn’t have the tip included in the total, just call up the restaurant and explain what happened. It will be most helpful if you can remember the name of your server, but they should also be able to find your check in the POS by date and total, and the server’s name will be attached to it.

I have noticed this as well. I have gone back to a couple of restaurants to leave the tip. However, the tip does turn up on the charge after a few days. Give it some time.
I am not sure why this happens, and have only noticed it in the last couple of years.

When I pay with a debit card, the server runs the card and brings back a receipt for my signature. That receipt also has a line for adding a gratuity. Make no mistake. Even before I signed it, my card got debited for the amount on the receipt. It does reconcile a few days later, and my checking account balance eventually reflects the entire amount that I committed to spend.