Tipping with a credit card is pretty simple: You give your credit card as payment for the core service and have the opportunity to add a tip afterward - either on a paper receipt or a screen. The final amount is then charged to your credit card account. In other words, you have the chance to add a tip before the transaction is completed.
Consider tipping with a credit card at a restaurant, for example. The server charges your card for the cost of the meal and brings back a receipt for you to sign, allowing you to add a tip. The restaurant doesn’t complete the transaction until after you’ve signed (unless you leave before doing so). Tipping is not mandatory, of course. And if you’d rather tip in cash, that works, too.
It’s important to write something on the tip line of a receipt, even if you don’t want to tip. That way, someone else won’t be able to fraudulently fill it out for you.
In addition, you should always check your account after tipping with a credit card to make sure you were charged the correct amount. If the restaurant inflated your tip, you should first call and ask them to fix the mistake. If they don’t, you’ll have to file a dispute with your card issuer to get your money back. You should be able to prove your case easily if you keep your receipt.
Here’s how to tip with a credit card:
- Ask the server for your check.
- Verify the bill is correct and give the server your credit card.
- When the server brings back your card and receipt, you should see a space for a tip below the total cost of the meal. Write in how much of a tip you’d like to give.
- Add the meal cost and your tip together for the total.
- Leave the original receipt for the server (but keep your copy). They’ll then complete the transaction, charging you for both the meal and tip.
- Check your account afterward to ensure you were charged correctly. If not, call the restaurant to ask about it. If they refuse to fix the situation, file a dispute with your issuer.
Don’t worry about your server not getting his or her money when you leave a tip with a credit card, either. Since the server will have the receipts from their tables, they’ll be able to present those receipts to the owner in order to get their tips in cash later. Some restaurants will give employees all the tips from the tables they waited, while others will pool the tips and divide them between the servers.
There may be times other than when you’re at restaurants where you tip by card. For example, if you order food by phone, you would add your tip when you sign the receipt, and the whole amount would get charged to your account after delivery. You could also add a tip for housekeeping to your credit card receipt when you check out of a hotel.