Giving someone special a gift is frequently done with the help of gift cards. In addition to groceries, they can be used for anything.

But is it possible to tip using a gift card? Let’s find out if that’s okay.

Is It Alright to Tip With a Gift Card?

The truth is that using a gift card as payment for tips is not illegal in all states. Many restaurants, though, have rules that forbid servers from taking tips in this manner. Due to the ease with which gift cards can be misplaced or stolen, restaurant owners do not want their staff to be left without payment in such an event.

Therefore, even though it is possible to tip using a gift card, it is probably best to refrain from doing so. It is preferable to tip in cash or with a credit card if you want to express your gratitude for the good service. In this manner, you can be certain that the tip will be given to the server.

Ask the Restaurant

Before you even get in your car, be ready. Call the restaurant and speak to a manager to find out the rules regarding using a gift card as payment for tips and to find out if the system is prepared to handle it. This will inform you of all the possibilities before you even enter the room.

Verify With Server

Have you ever called a company to see if something was in stock, driven across town to pick it up, only to discover that the employee you spoke to was mistaken? Before placing an order, make sure you can use the gift card value as a tip by checking with the server to confirm the possibility.

Remember to Tip Correctly

Whether you pay with cash, a gift card, or both, the tipping guidelines remain the same. The gift card only has $0.37 left on it after you pay your bill, but the server doesn’t care if Aunt Better wanted to give you a free meal. Normal tipping practices are followed.

Because you don’t have to pay for the meal out of pocket (or with less money), using a gift card feels like a windfall. Don’t anticipate being able to tip using the gift card, as tipping is still customary. These steps will assist you in determining precisely what needs to be done and help you avoid embarrassment when the bill comes.

Bring Cash

Cash is king, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I almost never travel without cash, especially when I might be expected to leave a tip. Even if using the gift card to pay for the tip is permitted, I might still decide to splurge on the surf and turf and end up needing additional funds.

gift card

How to Tip When Paying With a Gift Card

Gift cards have the drawback of not being as tip-friendly as credit cards, especially at restaurants. If you are paying with a credit card, here’s how a typical transaction works:

  1. The server gives you a bill
  2. You give the server a credit card
  3. They authorize your card for the bill amount
  4. They bring you a sales slip
  5. You sign the slip and add a tip
  6. You get up and leave.
  7. The server runs your card at their POS for the cost of your meal plus the tip.

Most people have experienced this exact procedure countless times. When using a gift card, this process falters around step five, which can be problematic. Even if the value of the gift card outweighs your bill, you can’t usually just sign for a tip and leave when you pay with one. Using a gift card, what is the most effective way to tip? You have a few options…

Pay with cash — You can always use a gift card to pay the initial bill and then tip with cash.

Pay with a credit card — A little-known trick that almost all restaurants will allow is to hand your credit card to the server and ask them to “charge you one penny”. The waiter will take your card, charge it a penny (or occasionally a dollar), and then hand you a slip with the small fee and a tip line on it. Then leave a tip.

In the end, a better gift card tipping procedure is required, whereby you are permitted to specify a tip before the card is debited once you inform the server that you plan to pay with a gift card. In addition to developing systems that will let you tip using gift card funds, we are collaborating closely with restaurants to help them improve how they handle gift cards. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you can’t use a gift card for a tip, don’t be afraid to ask the establishment to run your card for a small amount, especially if you don’t have cash!


Are Gift Cards Tip-friendly?

Yes and no; paying with a gift card doesn’t guarantee that the server will receive a tip, even though giving one may feel more personal than giving cash.

It makes sense that some people prefer to carry cards to cash, while others might think that giving a card as a gift is more kindhearted than giving cash. The recipient of the tip, however, doesn’t really notice much of a difference.

The server is free to use gift cards however they see fit, whether that be to pay bills or buy groceries since they can be used anywhere. However, is giving cash as a gift really considered impolite?

Is Gift Card Tipping Easy to Enable?

Gift card tipping can be enabled quickly, yes. You have two options for adding a tip function to your account: online or by calling the customer service number on the back of the card.

Even better, some gift cards have a built-in tipping feature that makes it simple to enter the tip amount.

In Summary: Tip Correctly

Ever try using a gift card to leave a tip for your server? Not as simple as it first appears. Most servers won’t take them, and if they do, they’ll probably exchange them for money at the end of their shift.

Gift cards are a fantastic way to express gratitude for a job well done, but if you want to give one to your server, make sure you’re using the right kind of card.