If you've just gotten your first credit card, the entire paying for dinner with your card process might seem a bit confusing. You may worry about your card's security as it's taken away to be charged, how to calculate a tip or when you'll see the charge on your bill. Luckily, restaurants are some of the most common places credit cards are used, and it's become an incredibly smooth process.
Paying Your Restaurant Bill
Paying a restaurant bill with a credit card is very straightforward. First, your server will leave the bill with you on the table. Look the bill over and make sure the charges are accurate. Depending on the restaurant, you may hand the bill to the waiter, or you might take it up to a cash register to pay in person.
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Your server will be able to tell you how this works. Either way, the person responsible will take your credit card, ring up your charges and present you with a printed receipt.
Filling Out Your Receipt
The receipt you receive documents the date and time of the purchase, as well as what method you used to pay for it. The receipt will also show you the amount you're being charged for the meal, as well as its taxes. In most restaurants, there'll be a line for a tip or gratuity. If you're charging a tip on the card, you'll need to write the tip's value into that line, then add it to the cost of the meal to get the final total to be charged to the card and sign underneath. This is what gives the restaurant permission to charge the meal to your card.
The restaurant will likely provide two copies of the receipt. One will denote itself as the customer copy at the top or bottom – this is a copy for your records. You can remind yourself what you tipped and what the total charge is if you choose to check the charge on your bill to make sure it matches. The restaurant will keep the other copy of the receipt for its records.
Tipping on a Restaurant Bill
In the United States, part of our culture includes tipping. Employees are given tips depending on the meal's quality and the quality of their service. While most places generally expect tips between 15 and 20 percent depending on the service, as of 2021, 20 percent is often considered the minimum. Luckily, that means calculating the tip on a restaurant bill is much easier.
For example, let's say your dinner bill comes out to be $42.37. You may look at that and start wondering if you need a calculator to determine what a good tip is. Here's a secret: move the decimal point one place to the left to figure out what 10 percent of the bill would be (in this case, $4.24). Then, double this number to get to 20 percent.
This gives you a great benchmark. If service wasn't great, you may go down to $7 or $8 as a tip; if service was good, you might round up to $9. Keep in mind servers prefer to get tips in full dollars, rather than an actual $8.48. Also, keep in mind that these servers depend on tips just to get to minimum wage, so you should only withhold a good tip in extenuating circumstances.