Guilted into tipping? 54% feel pressure to tip when using cashless checkout

LAS VEGAS — Tipping may be a time-honored tradition between consumers and workers in the service industry, but do you really need to tip after everything you do? A new survey finds many Americans actually feel more pressure to tip as more businesses switch to cashless checkout!

In a poll of more than 1,000 people, conducted by PlayUSA, 54 percent say they feel added pressure to leave a tip digitally when they pay using a store’s cashless iPad checkout screen. In fact, 51 percent admit they’ve left a tip when they normally wouldn’t because the screen asked them if they would like to tip their server.

It seems businesses that go digital may be making out better on this tipping phenomenon, since 46 percent of respondents say they’ve skipped tipping someone in the past because they didn’t have any cash on them. As for who’s tipping the most, baby boomers are the most likely Americans to leave servers a tip (95%), compared to Gen Xers and millennials (84%) and Gen Z (74%).

Who takes home the most tips?

When it comes to which jobs bring home the most money in tips, nearly every American (98%) says they always tip a server at a restaurant. Three in four people also make sure to tip their food delivery workers (76%) and their barber or hair stylist (74%).

After that, however, tipping becomes a lot more hit-or-miss. Only half of Americans tip a rideshare driver (54%) or taxi driver (47%) and just four in 10 people (39%) tip someone who gives them a massage or other beauty service.

Despite these workers often carrying a customer’s heavy possessions, just 26 percent tip a hotel bellhop and only 23 percent tip furniture delivery workers — good luck moving your own couch next time! Similarly, just 11 percent of Americans tip someone who comes to their home to do repairs.

When it comes to coffee, Americans are more likely to leave something in the tip jar if they buy from a local shop rather than a big chain. Specifically, 49 percent say they tip the barista at a local coffee shop, while only 27 percent tip at store like Starbucks. Overall, tipping for coffee is pretty divisive, with 39 percent saying they tip and another 39 percent saying they never tip when buying coffee.

Tipping Etiquette

How much should you tip?

For all the workers in the service industry out there, make sure your service is on point. The poll finds two in three (68%) base their tip on the level of service they receive. Moreover, 53 percent say they’ve actually skipped tipping because of the bad service they received. Just 32 percent tip the same amount regardless of how good or bad the service is.

Regardless of the service, 23 percent say they tip more during the holidays and 26 percent say they’ve been tipping workers more during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, inflation is forcing everyone to cut back, leading 17 percent of Americans to say they’re tipping less now that prices are going up.

With all of the issues making it harder for Americans to make ends meet, 60 percent believe tipping etiquette has changed over the last three years. Another 60 percent actually want to do away with tipping altogether.

As for who gets the biggest bonuses, more Americans say they give restaurant workers a tip of 20 percent or more (64%) than any other service profession. When eating at a restaurant that does not have table service, 61 percent they don’t tip at all.

Meanwhile, food delivery workers typically get 15 or 20 percent (44%), and Americans give their rideshare driver anywhere from “a few dollars” (17%) to a 20-percent gratuity (15%).


In September 2022, PlayUSA surveyed 1,006 Americans about their tipping habits. 184 were Gen Z (ages 18-25), 486 Millennials (ages 26-41), 232 Gen X (ages 42-57), 104 Baby Boomers (ages 58+). 49% were male, 49% female, 1% transgender, and less than 1% were nonbinary or preferred not to answer. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 93 with an average age of 38. 29% make less than $20,000, 21% make $20,000-$40,000, 19% make $40,001-$60,000, 12% make $60,001-$80,000, 8% make $80,001-$100,000, 11% make $100,001+. Of those surveyed, 51% have full-time jobs, 20% work part-time, 18% are unemployed, and 11% marked other (ie. student, stay-at-home parent, etc.).

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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