Tipping at Bars/Restaurants/Cafe's in the USA

Just a word to the wise, be wary when spending with Revolut in the USA. It works a treat and is perfect for the job, but when at somewhere like a bar where they swipe your card and issue you with a receipt to sign for a tip, the transaction will duplicate (one will be pending) and it will remove both sets of money from your Revolut account.

Eg. If I buy two coffees, and they come to $10. I get my Revolut swiped to pay, leave a $2 tip on the receipt, $22 (original $10 + origina & tip $12) will be removed from your account. Both transactions have the same auth code and the pending transaction will eventually be released back to you, but it can be frustrating not having the money to spend immediately!

My protip, give tips in cash where you can. It will save this from happening to you!

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It depends on how the merchant handles this, I guess. I used my card over the Christmas holidays last year in the US and all restaurants I recall didn’t block the amount twice. To me it looked like the blocked amount was corrected after a couple of days to include the tip.

Yeah it depends on how the merchant handles it like you said. I’m using my Revolut card in the US right now to pay for everything and have been tipping in restaurants/bars with cash, much easier!

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Very useful post. The best thing to do is to show the merchant that the money (with no tip) has already been taken from your Revolut account, and then tell them that you’re not paying again. It also gets you out of the annoying US custom of having to leave a tip.

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Might be worth reading up on tipping culture in the USA.

Completely different from anywhere else in the World and those who provide face to face service are already taxed on projected tips from their employment. In addition wages are also low in anticipation[ation of being topped up with tips.

By not tipping you are actually costing the server/person money. Whilst I am from the UK where we never tip in bars (not part of the culture) I roll with the Country I am visiting.

When in Rome ect very much applies.

The advice to pay with the card and tip a few dollars in cash is an excellent one…

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[quote=“geezer466, post:5, topic:1189, full:true”]
Might be worth reading up on tipping culture in the USA.

By not tipping you are actually costing the server/person money.[/quote]
I think we all understand the tipping culture in the US. If they want a tip, then they should process only one transaction. This highlights that the whole tipping culture in the US is in need of reform. It is unnecessarily complicated and impedes new technology such as contactless payments from taking off.

Paying part-card part-cash defeats the cashless convenience of paying by card and not having to carry cash.

When I tip in a US restaurant, I never tip using any card. I have always paid the bill with the card and ignored the option add the tip to the bill.
I always leave a cash tip for the server. For particularly good service I will will give a particularly good tip directly to the server with a personal thank you.

I realized that no tip has been given to any waiter during my holiday. This was not my intent. And neither I want to use cash. I think someone from Revolut should join this thread and suggest a solution as tipping is not an uncommon use for a credit card.

Last time I was in the US, I’ve seen two ways how tips with the card are handled:

Most common: the waiter would ask you to sign the credit card receipt. You can add the tip there. The preauthorized amount (without tip) will revert to the final amount (with tip) once the credit card payment is settled. This can happen in two different ways: the first preauthorized payment just changes or a new payment with the final amount appears and the preauthorization expires.

Less common in the US, more common in Europe: the waiter presents you the card terminal that shows the amount. Before authorizing with your PIN, you could add a tip directly at the terminal.

Both ways work with Revolut cards. So I am wondering for what kind of solution you are looking? :slight_smile:


Hi Frank,

I am travelling in the US right now. I have never seen that either the the
amount changed or the tip was added despite which security features of
Revolut I disabled. That means that no tip I signed was ever paid out.
So I am still looking for a solution using Revolut.


It might take a couple of days until the final amount will show up. Are all your transactions “completed” and not “pending” anymore? I can also see that restaurants do not update the payment details right away. Maybe they collect the signed receipts a couple of days and then process collected card payments in batches?

It’s been a while now and all payments are shown as completed. And yes I
compared to some of the bills, tips are not included.

This wasn’t my experience at all last time in the USA- a few months ago. I’m going again in a few months also, so I’ll re-test.

So to the point- my wife made about 5 payments, adding a tip each time. No payment has ever included the tip.
Quite sure this may be a ‘know-how’ issue on the merchant’s side and waiters unable to properly process these tips from pre-paid cards, but still- it’s a bad impression you leave.

Luckily, I didn’t have to go to the same place twice :slight_smile:

Now jokes aside, no-one will probably want to understand it’s a technical problem but rather sort of a “scam” or something. Long term this may just result in restaurants being reluctant to accept prepaid cards, so this issue definitely is counter productive.

I am relatively sure that it took quite a while until the paid amount changed. I noticed the same thing: after checking the bill and the payment in the app, I saw that the tip wasn’t included. But over a week later, the payment was shown including the tip. This was a while ago and Revolut changed a lot since then, including different card issuers and service providers. So it could be of course different now than it was in 2015.

Here’s an article from 2012: https://bucks.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/31/will-more-restaurants-ban-the-use-of-prepaid-cards/ – I am posting it here because they mention what I’ve experienced: the tip is processed after the main bill. And there are statements from Visa about this.

(My Revolut card was always accepted in restaurants.)

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Restaurants in Mexico have usally mobile POS Terminals and just charge the whole ammount at once (with chip+pin). Basically the same as in Europe, at least Germany.

In the US two coffees cost $10!? They must have gold in them. And that’s without the tip?

Im used to paying 0.70€ for my coffees in Portugal with no tip required or expected

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A coffee price range from $1 to $50. :slight_smile: just saying…

And 10 for two coffees is very easy to achieve in most big cities around the world 😬 you don’t even have to search for a special place 😆 3.8 one in Manila. 4.7 in Tokyo. 4.5 in Singapore. And those in normal places, not fancy or something special…

The topic is about the double charge in US tip custom. Which is quite annoying for non US people as we tip at the end.

Another solution is to tip in cash. Or tell the waitress you want to tip directly or pay at the end due to your card policy or something (well you’re foreigner, they have to believe you)!

You can find a list of prices for coffee for different countries here:

Do you know how this works with split bill functionality? I mean if the tip is processed separately what happens the transaction is ammended? Will revolut also trigger the money request for the tip automatically?

Thank you.