Tipping in US

Hi! I’ve been in US for a while and using Revolut daily. In US tipping in restaurants, barbershop and other places are quite usual. But how it looks here, is that I pay the bill first, got receipt and then write the amount I’d like to tip for service. I just wonder how it works and how do “guaranteed” that the amount taken later is the amount I wrote to the receipt? It just looks so random to me that for example I write there $5 and they can add 0 at the end for example.

you could adjust the card’s limit temporarily.

or not let your card out of your sight in the first place.

You’re not “paying” before, you’re just “authorizing” an amount. Two things can happen:

A restaurant pre-authorizes the bill without tip. Days later, a second transaction might appear in the app, the initial authorization still pending. The authorization will be reverted after a couple of days manually or it will expire.

Or the amount of the initial authorization changes to the amount including the tip at the time of settlement (when “pending” becomes “completed”).

This depends on how the restaurant/payment provider handles this. It is the same for all cards and not specific to :r:


What happens if you freeze the card in the app after authorising the amount on the restaurant bill but before the restaurant processes the tip? Does this avoid having to pay the disingenuously mandatory tip?

Save your receipts and check your credit card statements

That probably depends on how the merchant handles this. If the already authorized amount is updated, my guess is that it would go thru. But if they let the authorization expire and try a 2nd payment with the correct amount, my guess is that it is going to be declined.

Can a merchant really change the amount of an existing authorisation without requesting an authorisation for the change? If so, it’s open to significant abuse.

Yes, for some authorizations, that’s possible. Think of it as an offline payment. In case of dispute, the merchant would have to proof that you’ve signed the slip with the added tip properly and that he checked the signature. That’s why all the US customer receipts have also the extra blank space where you can add the tip you gave. When you then check your credit card bill once a month, you can make sure it’s settled correctly.

Is this archaic? Sure. But don’t want customers best card acceptance and backwards compatibility?

I don’t know the details, but it might not be possible for chip + PIN transactions. With that kind of authorization, the tip is usually added before confirming the payment.

Yep, they can, and they do. It’s kind of annoying to always double check how much they actually charged, because I don’t get any notifications about it if the charged amount is changed. I can just backtrack. I usually make a picture of receipt and add it to app, but it’s still unconvenient that I don’t get any additional notification about it. And this is how you can go to minuses aswell with your account, if there’s no money on and you’ve tipped, then your account goes like - x dollars.

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Card limits won’t work😄 even if there’s no money on you can go to negative

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the only safe way is not being lazy and keep the card with you at all times. lift your ass if needed.

Really didn’t get your point. I’ll explain the process again.

  1. someone (john) goes to restaurant, eats and willing to pay
  2. John lifts his ass and goes to cashier
  3. cashier prints out check with x$ on it
  4. John signs the check with x$ on it and gets notified by revolut that his account is charged with x$
  5. in the next line John has to write the amount of tip that is not charged from his account immediately and John won’t get any notification about it later when it’s going to be charged.
  6. John writes on the tip line for example 3 dollars and leaves the restaurant
  7. cashier might think its not enough and adds 1 in front of 3$ so it’s 13$ instead of 3$
  8. John’s account is going to be charged additionally later with 13 $ without any notification. And the number in his statement is just increased by the amount
  9. John might not kept track and didn’t take pictures of check
  10. John lost 10$ without even noticing it.
  11. John kept eye on his card all the time and the card is with him all the time. He also set limits to the cards.

this mix of online and offline doesn’t make any sense at all to me, but we clearly live in different worlds.

In my world the cashier prints the check with $x, then we agree on a tip (spoken or on paper) and then I get a machine with a total on it ($x + tip) to swipe or insert the card and then the recipe gets printed.


  • draw a line before and after the amount
  • write the amount in words
  • strike the the place for the tip, and tip in cash
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Well, different cultures, right? If you’re not happy with how this is handled for decades in the US, it’s up to you to not add a written tip on a credit card bill, just tip in cash.

For others, it’s a good idea to explain what happens, so that they can decide on their own how they want to tip.

(This was never meant to be a mix between offline and online, it’s an outdated way from when there was no online. Now the online bit adds a little bit of security for the restaurant with pre-authorization, and the convenience for the customer that checks the bill, adds a tip and then signs it did stay the same. This was not designed for chip + PIN and it predates live notifications, smartphones and mobile banking.)

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Some places do have the terminal asking directly for the tip, but it’s pretty rare in the US.
I’m sure time will help, and they’ll catch up :slight_smile:

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Why wouldnt John include the tip straight away?

I wonder is it possible to “survive” vacation in usa without tipping at all ? :cowboy_hat_face:

p.s. Also probably second most annoying thing in usa is that prices in shops are shown without taxes included. its SUPER LAME.


I think that people in the US are just paid badly by the employer and have no proper health insurance (if at all).
With your tip you help a waiter to live. That’s why they have a 10% tip rule.

It is the American Way of Life. :man_shrugging:t3:

tldr: federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, $2.13 an hour for tipped workers

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It’s about misleading pricing. If the restaurant expects to be paid $12 + tax, then they advertise $10 (or worse $9.99) in the menu, which entices custom.

The shortfall between US restaurant wages and the average US income is much greater than in other countries, and diners are expected, through tips, to remedy the employer’s failure to pay a sufficient wage. This model is worst for the consumer and worst for the staff; it suits only the restaurant.

I wouldn’t have a problem paying these pseudo-mandatory tips if restaurant prices were increased to include tips within advertised prices. What irritates me is that US menu prices are materially misleading by excluding both expected tips and mandatory sales tax. I want the price in the menu to be the price I pay, just like in France for example.