Chase Offering 10% Cash Back at Amazon with Freedom Card

Chase just delivered an early Christmas (or any other holiday) present to its Freedom cardholders.

From November 23rd until December 31st, 2015, you’ll earn double the amount of promotional cash back when shopping at Amazon with your Chase Freedom card.

In fact, they’re doubling the fourth quarter rotating category in its entirety, meaning you’ll earn 10% cash back at Zappos, and as well.

The same quarterly limit of $1,500 does apply, however, it will be reset on November 23rd so you actually get a brand new $1,500 to play with, even if you spent a bunch at these stores since the fourth quarter began on October 1st.

Earn $150 Cash Back in One Month

chase cash back

This means you can earn $150 in cash back in just over a month, along with whatever you earned from October 1st until November 22nd.

If you have Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Plus/Bold, those 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to airline and hotel partners as well.

So you could potentially get even more value out of this deal with certain non-cash redemptions.

Ultimately, the best bet for most people is to buy Amazon gift cards and earn 10% back for future spending.

You’ll effectively get your Amazon items for 10% off once you receive your cash back. And I’m sure most people can easily spend $1,500 at Amazon in the course of a few months, if not sooner.

No Need to Sign Up Again

If you already activated your fourth quarter 5% cash back bonus with Chase, there’s no need to sign up again to be eligible for this deal.

You’re automatically enrolled and will earn 10% cash back when making purchases at the merchants previously mentioned.

If you haven’t signed up, make sure you do so by December 14th in order to be included in the promotion. I believe it’s retroactive even if you sign up after spending.

Also, if you’re planning on making big purchases at any of these stores, you might want to wait until November 23rd or even a few days later to make sure you actually earn the double cash back.

Keep in mind that the extra 5% cash back can take 1-2 billing cycles to be awarded and reflected in your statement, so be patient.

And as with any type of date-based promotion, it’s wise to make the purchases well within the window to avoid any surprises.

For example, you won’t want to miss out by a day if your order isn’t processed immediately.

I’ll probably just buy Amazon gift cards for the full $1,500 unless I come up with a better idea.

I suppose you can also buy third-party gift cards on Amazon’s website as well and effectively shop at those stores at a rate of 10% off.

For the record, Discover it is also offering 5% cash back at Amazon during the fourth quarter, but new cardholders get their cash back doubled the first year.

So this essentially matches the existing Discover deal, which might be the whole point of it.

In any case, you can take full advantage if you have both cards and earn 10% back on up to $3,000 in purchases. Not a bad way to earn $300 or more.


The Plenti Credit Card from Amex: Will It Earn You Plenty?

Earlier this year, American Express launched Plenti, a somewhat novel rewards program that lets you earn points and use them within a network of stores.

So you can earn Plenti points by paying your AT&T cell phone bill and then redeem those same Plenti points at Rite Aid or another participating store.

I actually signed up for Plenti and linked my AT&T account to earn Plenti points but haven’t done anything with them yet. I’ve got nearly 1,000 Plenti points, which I believe is good for $10 in savings.

It’s on cruise control and maybe in a year or two I’ll have enough points to redeem for free gas at Exxon.

In the meantime I won’t pay too much attention to the program because it seems like a lot of work with little upside.

The Plenti Credit Card from Amex


  • 3 Plenti points at U.S. supermarkets ($6,000 annual limit)
  • 2 Plenti points at restaurants located in the U.S.
  • 1 Plenti point elsewhere


Now American Express has a credit card that specifically earns Plenti points, called, you guessed it, the “Plenti Credit Card from Amex.”

This is a way to start earning Plenti points at a much faster rate than just being a member of the Plenti loyalty program.

The card offers a 5,000 Plenti point bonus after you spend $250 within the first three months.

You also earn 3 Plenti points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in annual purchases), 2 Plenti points at restaurants located in the U.S., and one Plenti point elsewhere.

The Plenti points earned from your card are posted in your Plenti rewards account at the end of each billing cycle following the one in which the transaction occurred.

The Plenti Credit Card also comes with 0% intro APR for the first 12 months on purchases and there’s no annual fee.

And it’s an actual credit card, not a charge card, so you are able to carry a balance, not that it’s recommended to do so.

Some Annoyances with Plenti


I dug through the fine print and found some things that might be a bit annoying for cardholders.

For one, you need to first sign up for Plenti before you can sign up for the Plenti credit card.

Apparently they are two separate accounts. To this end, you also need to use both your Plenti credit card and Plenti rewards card when shopping at Plenti merchants to get the bonus Plenti points those merchants offer.

It’s not automatic simply because you’re a Plenti credit card member.

Additionally, using Plenti points is also limited because you can only use them at the merchants that are part of Plenti.

From what I’ve seen, you can only redeem them at places like AT&T, Macy’s, Nationwide, Rite Aid, participating Exxon. The list doesn’t seem to be very long at the moment, maybe that will change, I don’t know.

Wouldn’t you rather have straight up cash back or Membership Rewards points that you could transfer to airlines and hotels?

To me, the Plenti loyalty program is fine because you can kind of set it and forget it and still earn some points over time.

But in my opinion the Plenti credit card is definitely a miss because you’ll just wind up with a bunch (and maybe not even that many) Plenti points, which might be hard to redeem for anything you actually want.

At the end of the day, there are much better credit cards out there, not to mention better American Express credit cards such as Old Blue Cash or the Amex EveryDay cards that offer much greater flexibility when it comes to redemption.

So why bother with this card, especially seeing that it has a weak sign-up bonus and not much else.

(photo: Dan4th Nicholas)

Get $15 for Adding Chase Freedom to Visa Checkout

If you’re looking for some low hanging fruit, check out (no pun intended) the latest offer from Visa Checkout and Chase.

Here’s how it works:

1. Register for Visa Checkout
2. Add your Chase Freedom card
3. Make a $15+ purchase on a website that accepts Visa Checkout using your Chase Freedom card
4. Collect $15 via a statement credit within 1-2 billing cycles

It’s that easy folks. I already have a Visa Checkout account with my Chase Ink card (due to an earlier promotion) so I skipped straight to step 2.

From there I just had to enter my Chase Freedom card details and I was off and running.

I cruised over to and made a $25 Starbucks gift card purchase. They actually charge you $26.99 to cover shipping but I didn’t mind.

You can also shop at for e-gift cards with no fees, but they don’t have Starbucks gift cards.

They do have other restaurant gift cards though such as Domino’s or Cheesecake Factory, to name a couple.

Anyway, once you add the item to your cart, simply select the Visa Checkout option and it will redirect you to log in.

Once logged in, you simply verify the details of the payment (make sure it’s on Chase Freedom if you have multiple cards registered with Visa Checkout) and hit submit.

That’s pretty much it. In 1-2 billing cycles you should see a $15 statement credit to offset your $15+ purchase.

Get a $25 Gift Card for $10 with Chase Freedom

For some, this could mean a free $15 item. For others, like me, it’s a $25 gift card for $12.  It could be just $10 if you avoid the shipping fees.

I could have searched a little harder for a gift card with no fees but I couldn’t be bothered. You can get other gift cards at Staples with e-mail delivery for no fee, including eBay, Whole Foods, and Home Depot.

For the record, the Visa Checkout offer is valid from November 2nd through December 31, 2015 and there is a limit of one $15 credit per customer or card account.

Once you make your purchase, check to see that it says “paid with Visa Checkout.”  You may want to print the receipt for your records and/or save the e-mail for proof.


Amex Small Business Saturday Statement Credits Targeted This Year

Over the past few years, American Express has been extremely generous in handing out statement credits for shopping small, otherwise known as swiping your Amex at non-corporate local businesses.

In fact, last year they gave enrolled cardmembers 3 $10 statement credits per American Express credit card when spending $10.

In other words, you could earn $30 for spending $30 on a single Amex card. The beauty of this promotion was that you could enroll ALL of your Amex credit and charge cards, meaning the savings were exponential.

For example, I have four American Express credit cards, including Old Blue Cash, Fidelity Amex, Amex Serve, and Amex Blue.

That meant I could earn $120 in credits when spending $120 at local businesses near me. I mostly went to liquor stores and small wine shops to purchase wine (hey, it was simple).

I also made my wife an authorized user on two of my credit cards, which meant she also earned $60 for $60 in spending.

In total, we snagged nearly $200 in savings on Small Business Saturday last year thanks to the very liberal policy employed by Amex.

But this year the promotion changed. Some assumed they wouldn’t be giving out the credits at all, perhaps because what I just explained was seen as abuse.

Or maybe Amex is feeling the need to tighten the belt a bit and stop handing out lots of free money.

In any case, they announced a month or two ago that instead of statement credits, they’d be increasing their support of small business owners with marketing, free online ads, and other promotional stuff.

Are You Targeted?

small biz saturday credit

But this past weekend, Amex cardholders began noticing targeted statement credits for Small Business Saturday in their Amex offers.

I logged in and found the offer on both my Amex Blue and Amex Blue Cash cards, though not on my authorized user accounts or on Amex Serve. I also can’t manually add it to Fidelity Amex.

So I’ll be getting $20 for spending $20 this year, which pales in comparison to last year but is still better than nothing.

And I have until November 28th to spend the $10 at participating stores, as opposed to having to do the spending on one specific day.

Be sure to check your accounts to see if you’ve been targeted for this promotion and add the offers quickly if you were.  I’m assuming enrollment is limited.

Tip: Some people argue that you should launch all your Amex accounts in separate browser windows at the same time in case the offer goes away once you add it to one of your cards.

For example, once I added it to my Old Blue card it may have no longer been available on my authorized user accounts.

You can try this is if you think it’s true, but it might just be a myth. I didn’t do it so I’ll never know if I truly missed out, but I’m happy to get my free $20 this year.

Read more: Get Amex statement credits for paying your phone and cable bills!

Costco Anywhere Visa: Details of New Citi Costco Credit Cards Emerge

Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi

It was revealed earlier this year that Costco was ditching American Express in favor of Citi after the pair was unable to renew their longstanding contract. So come next spring, you’ll be swiping with a Citi-based Visa credit card at Costco, not your current Amex.

The name of the new Costco credit card is “Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi.” The emphasis seems to be on “anywhere,” as in use it at places other than Costco, pretty please.

There will a consumer credit card and small business credit card, but it’s unclear what the differences will be.

The cards will also feature a typical cash back rewards program, coined “Costco Cash Rewards,” with gas purchases being the biggest rewards category. These are actually really solid cash back categories overall.

Citi Costco Credit Card Cash Back Categories


  • Earn 4% cash back on gas at Costco and other standalone stations (on first $7,000 annually) 1% thereafter
  • Earn 3% cash back at restaurants and eligible travel purchases worldwide
  • Earn 2% cash back at Costco and
  • Earn 1% cash back elsewhere


A few details about cash back inclusions and exclusions. You’ll only earn 1% on gas if it’s purchased from superstores (non-Costcos), supermarkets, convenience stores, or for non-auto gas (rocket fuel?).

The travel category includes airfare, hotels, car rentals, travel agencies, cruises, and Costco Travel. Sweet!

Restaurants does not include bakeries, or certain restaurants/cafes located within department stores or grocery stores.

Overall, the new Costco Anywhere Card boosts each category by 1%, so the old 3-2-1 rewards structure will soon be 4-3-2-1. Can’t argue with that!

How Much You Can Earn

costco cash back

As you can see, the cash back can add up pretty quickly depending on how much you spend on the card each month. I inputted some conservative figures in to come up with about $600 in annual cash back earnings.

Obviously the more you swipe the more you’ll earn in the way of cash back. Just note that the gas station category does max out at $7,000 each year.

The cash back can be redeemed in the form of a check at Costco warehouses or redeemed for merchandise. The so-called “Rewards Coupon” is allocated annually and will be included with your February billing statement for the previous year’s purchases. It expires on December 31st of the year issued.

There will also be some kind of promotional APR for purchases and balance transfers, and like its predecessor, no annual fee with paid Costco membership.

All in all, it’s pretty decent, and a step up from the existing TrueEarnings credit card from Amex.

Costco already provides products at a low price (apparently, I don’t shop there) so they have little incentive to give cardholders much more in the way of discounts, but they’re still being generous in doling out 2% cash back at Costco.

And getting gas at Costco gas stations for 4% off will also be huge I imagine.

I already get my gas for 5% off thanks to my original Blue Cash card from Amex, but Costco gas stations are often the cheapest around.

New Citi Costco Credit Cards Will Ship in May or Early June

If you’re an existing cardholder, expect to receive your new Citi Costco credit card in either May or early June.

You can start using the new card at Costco beginning June 20th, 2016. The old Amex version of the card will be void after June 19th, 2016 (not just at Costco but everywhere).

If you have any cash back earned from the old card it will automatically transfer to the new card from Citibank.

Also, don’t worry about your credit score taking a hit as a result of the new card. Citi will not pull your credit as part of the account transfer process, so there won’t be an inquiry.

Additionally, you will maintain your existing credit line so if it was $10,000 on the Amex version of the card, it will be $10,000 on the Citi version as well.

Finally, it should be noted that in “certain very limited situations,” some cardholders won’t be transferred from Amex to Citi. I don’t know why, but I’m assuming these customers are being dropped and thus not transferred. If this happens to you expect some form of correspondence from American Express.

Costco Anywhere Card FAQ

Is the Costco Anywhere Card also my Costco membership card?

Yes, and there is no annual fee with your paid Costco membership.

I’m currently a cardholder, do I need to apply for the new Citi-version of the card?

No, Citi will mail you a new card with instructions on how to activate it. You may want to register the card at so you can manage it online.

Is there a limit to the amount of cash back I can earn?

No, but the gas category only earns 4% on gas purchases up to $7,000 annually.

Will Citi pull my credit in order to approve me for the Costco Anywhere Card?

No, they won’t run your credit as part of the account transfer process.

When can I start using the new Costco Anywhere Card?

On June 20th, 2016. It can be used anywhere Visa is accepted as a form of payment.

Will my payment due date be the same?

It should be the same or very similar. But you also have the option to change it by contacting Citi or adjusting it online.

What if I have a balance from my American Express Costco card?

It will be transferred automatically from American Express to Citi on June 20th, 2016. But if you receive a credit card statement from Amex you should pay Amex. If you receive a statement from Citi, pay Citi.

What happens to my rewards from the old card?

Rewards not previously distributed will be transferred automatically to your new card with Citi so your February 2017 cash back rewards coupon may include earnings from early 2016 made using your Amex card. Note that any earned Membership Rewards points won’t be transferred, so contact Amex regarding that.

(photo:Adam Engelhart)

Soon You’ll Be Able to Use Nearly Anything to Pay Instead of a Credit Card

The plastic credit card is definitely under attack. While they’re not quite obsolete yet, they’re definitely endangered despite their continued ubiquity.

The advent of ApplePay and many subsequent challengers means fewer and fewer people will actually pull out their physical credit cards when it comes time to pay.

In a few short years I doubt many people will swipe anymore, or to be more accurate, slide their credit card into a chip and pin slot.

Why? Because we’ll use our smartphones instead, or perhaps something more interesting, like a ring, a fitness band, or even a key fob (which is actually kind of an old technology that is resurfacing).

Use Your Fitness Band, Your Car Keys, Your Ring


MasterCard announced this week that it’s currently working with several partners to bring payment capability to a variety of consumer products such as fitness bands, car keys, and even jewelry.

It’s part of the MasterCard Digital Enablement Service (MDES) and the Digital Enablement Express (Express) program, which is basically an Internet of Things (IoT) initiative.

The payment processor is partnering with a variety of innovators, including automaker General Motors, wearable tech company Nymi, smart jewelry company Ringly, and Bluetooth locator TrackR.

Basically, you’ll be able to use a MasterCard app to assign your credit card information to certain devices.

So if you’re going out on a jog and want to buy a smoothie after, you can assign your MasterCard credit card information to your fitness band, then scan it to pay.

If you’re driving to the store and don’t want to bring your wallet, you can use your car keys to scan and pay at the register.

And if you want to be super cool, you can sync your smart ring with your credit card info and scan the ring when you checkout at your favorite shop.

It appears you’ll be able to sync them and then shut them off if you’d like, so if you misplace one the devices you won’t have to worry.

Capital One is apparently already taking part in MDES via its Capital One Wallet, which uses “strong security” to provision and manage payment tokens.

MasterCard expects to roll out these products in 2016 in the United States and later expand to other parts of the world.

While it’s certainly a neat idea, it’s unclear how popular this technology will be seeing that everyone already carries around a smartphone anyway.

But I do see this technology taking off eventually, and maybe in a decade or so we’ll be able to use our fingers to make a purchase instead of carrying anything on us.

This will save credit card companies the trouble of issuing tons of plastic credit cards, which should also benefit the environment seeing that they’re not recyclable.

I for one would be happy to ditch all the archaic plastic payment cards, though you’ll still need to have some payment information for online purchases and so forth.

Get $20 Off Your Cable and Cell Phone Bills with Amex Offers

I love American Express for a number of reasons, but they’ve really stepped up their game over the past year and change with their ever-growing stable of Amex Offers.

I’ve saved lots of money on all types of stuff thanks to Amex Offers, including $50 off a recent airline purchase, $15 off at Walmart, and hundreds of dollars at Smart & Final.

On just one card, the original Blue Cash, my savings are $275 and counting. And I’ve got multiple cards and authorized users, so the savings are exponential.

The beauty of many of their offers is that you often don’t need to spend extra to save, because we all know you can go broke saving money.

Get $20 Off Your Cable or Satellite Bill

cable wireless amex offer

Their latest offer is very enticing and super easy to redeem. And as mentioned, you don’t need to spend anything extra to take advantage.

If your card is eligible (sign in to see if this offer is available to you), you get $10 back when you spend $50 on your cable or satellite bill.

This offer can be used up to two times, meaning $20 off your TV bill for the next two months.

All you have to do is add the offer and change your recurring payment to your associated Amex card (assuming it isn’t already the card you use). Oh, and spend at least $50, which shouldn’t be hard to do considering how expensive cable is these days.

The offer is good until January 31, 2016, so you should be able to squeeze in two payments by that time for $20 in total savings.

For the record, this offer is only available to those with service in California, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York.

Also Receive $20 Off Your Cell Phone Bill

If you have wireless service (no-brainer) you can get another $20 back via another Amex Offer currently available.

Once you add the offer you need to spend $75 (again, not hard considering how expensive wireless service is) and you’ll get $10 back.

This offer can also be used twice between now and January 31, 2016, though it is limited to certain major carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular and Verizon. However, it’s open to customers in all 50 states from what I can see.

Again, all you have to do is change the autopay settings to your enrolled Amex card and let the automated system take care of the rest.

In all, you’ll get $40 in statement credits just for making two simple changes to your payment preferences.

Once the offer is over, you can revert back to your original settings if you have a credit card that earns a better return.

For example, I have Chase Ink Plus, which earns 5X Ultimate Rewards points on both cable and wireless services, so I’ll be switching back after I earn my credits from Amex.

Tip: These offers may be targeted, though many people seem to have them. You can double your savings if you also add them to a spouse’s account and change the autopay to their card after two payments.

My wife has them too, so once I get two credits with my card I’ll switch to her card and try to squeeze another two for $80 in total savings.

If your bill is large enough you may also be able to split payment with two enrolled Amex cards to get two statement credits per payment cycle.

Make an Easy $400 with Discover Checking and Savings Accounts

When you think of Discover, you probably think about credit cards. But they’re also a bank and now offer checking and savings accounts to customers nationwide.

Recently, I applied for their savings account in order to snag a $100 opening bonus. All you have to do for that is deposit $10,000. Alternatively, you can deposit $5,000 and get a $50 bonus.

Either way, they offer a solid APY (0.95%) compared to most other large banks. I had money in ING Direct (which became Capital One 360) but the APY kept ticking lower until settling in around 0.75%. Boo!

I figured it made sense to get that extra .20% and $100 for filling out a short application.

How to Get $100 with Discover Savings


The link I used to get the $100 Discover savings account bonus was not my own – I found it at Hustler Money Blog. And the terms of the deal actually mention his blog so I figured it was legit.

He has a promo code (S00000EEL) but notes that it automatically populates when you use his link. After applying, simply call Discover or send them a secure message to ensure you’re set to get the bonus.

For this particular offer, the $10,000/$5,000 deposit must be received by 11/15/2015 and the bonus will be issued by 12/31/15.

Another cool aspect of this offer is the fact that there’s no minimum needed in your savings account, unlike other bank accounts such as Chase.

There are also no fees of any kind, another huge plus. However, you do have to deposit a minimum of $500 to open a Discover savings account.

Update: My opening deposit was made on October 8th and the $100 bonus was credited to my account on November 4th.

Earn Another $300 with Discover Cashback Checking

Here’s where it gets even better. Once you’ve got your Discover savings account, you can snag another $300 if you open a Discover Cashback Checking account.

Again, there are no fees on this puppy, which is awesome, and you get access to 60,000 free ATM machines nationwide at places like 7-11, Walgreens, and CVS.

You can also deposit checks on your phone and you earn 10 cents for each purchase made with your Discover debit card (assuming you request one).

You also earn 10 cents for each bill paid using their online bill payment service, and 10 cents for checks you write that clear your account. There’s a limit of 100 cash back transactions per month, or $10.

More importantly, you can earn $300 for opening a new Discover Cashback Checking account.

This one is a tad trickier than the savings account bonus but still super easy to complete.

All you have to do is apply via this link (not my link but had the offer details) and enter promo code “Bonus4915” in the box provided on the application.

Once you enter the promo code you should see the following text on your application:


After you submit you application, you simply need to make an opening deposit of at least $25 and complete two direct deposits of at least $250 each within 90 days.

The $300 bonus will be deposited in your account within 30 days of completing those basic requirements.

It’s that easy folks! How else can you earn $400 so quickly and easily? For the record, it’s really simple to fill out the forms online if you’re already a Discover credit card holder. You can use your existing information and same login to pre-populate many fields.

And once you open one of the accounts it’s really convenient to open the other. I opened the savings account first then transferred money from it to my new Discover checking account. But you can do it the other way around too.

The only downside to this deal is that the “income” you receive is taxable, unlike credit card rewards. But it’s still $400 before taxes and one of the highest savings account rates you’ll find. And a truly free checking account! That’s hard to beat.

Read more: Earn 23% cash back with Discover and ApplePay!

New Barclaycard CashForward Credit Card Offers 1.575% Cash Back

Barclaycard has launched a new invitation-only credit card known as the “CashForward World MasterCard” that offers 1.5% cash back on every purchase.

At first glance, it’s similar to the Capital One Quicksilver credit card because that card also comes with 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

The cash back can be redeemed for a statement credit, gift cards, or be deposited in your bank account.

There’s also a $100 sign-up bonus when you spend $500 in the first 90 days.

But wait, there’s more!

1.575% Cash Back with CashForward

The one main distinction with the CashForward credit card is that you get a 5% cash rewards redemption bonus whenever you redeem your cash back.

This 5% bonus can be used on subsequent redemptions. For example, if you cash in $100, you’d get $5 toward your next redemption. Cash in $300 and you’ll get $15 for the next one.

So the cash back is actually worth a bit more than 1.5%. It’s technically 1.575%.

However, there’s a hitch. You can only redeem when you’ve accrued a minimum of $50 in cash back. This differs from Discover, which allows any redemption amount, and American Express and others, which require $25.

Additionally, there are several credit cards that offer 2% cash back on everything all year long, so accepting 1.575% seems like a disservice, especially when you need to hit $50 in cash back to get your hands on it.

I think Barclaycard intentionally threw the word “forward” into the name to combat the Citi Double Cash credit card, which offers 1% cash back upfront and another 1% once you pay off your balance.

Think instant gratification, even if it’s less cash back. But if you don’t carry a balance you get your 2% cash back right away. And you shouldn’t carry a balance.

It should be noted that you cannot have an inactive account for seven straight billing cycles if you want to keep your cash back. This is defined as an account with no balance, payments, or transactions.

The CashForward World MasterCard carries no annual fee and 0% APR for the first 12 months on both purchases and balance transfers, but there is a 3% charge for foreign transactions.

My Thoughts on the Barclaycard CashForward

Overall, I’m not sold on this new offering from Barclaycard. I think they could have done better, especially with the competing offers currently available.

Why settle for 1.575% cash back when you can get 2% cash back or more? Heck, if you apply for the Discover it Miles credit card you can earn 3% cash back the first year when your miles are doubled.

There are plenty of more attractive options so you might want to give the Barclaycard CashForward a pass, especially with those hefty redemption minimums.

After all, you may never get all your cash out.

CashForward World MasterCard Features



Credit Card Tipping Is Getting Out of Control

Several years ago I ranted about the tip section on credit card receipts. I actually can’t find the post because I think I deleted it while doing some spring-cleaning on this site.

But the gist was that every time you paid for something with a credit card there was that annoying little tip section. You know the one – where you’re awkwardly put on the spot to tip something while the cashier waits for you to sign and return the piece of paper.

Well, amazingly, it’s become even worse, somehow. Well I know how, I’m just shocked it’s worse than before.

Thanks Square?

The culprit happens to be those new Square credit card terminals known as Square Stand. I don’t want to pick on just one company as there are probably others like it, but I’m pretty sure it’s Square that has created this new out of control tipping environment.

Allow me to explain. When you go into a store, typically a smaller shop that serves food, many merchants now have the Square Stand as their credit card register.

It’s a nice looking unit and easy to use. You get to swipe your own credit card, see the total, and then, drumroll…leave a tip, if you’d like.

Here’s where it gets silly. The thing defaults to a 15% tip, and also has two other options, like 20% and maybe even 25%. Whoa! Seriously, my options are 15-25% on my ice cream purchase?

For the record, my two helpings of organic farm raised ice cream already set me back $10, and you want a tip on top of that?

Sure, I might be willing to tip because you were nice and the service was satisfactory, but being presented with a 15% service charge “recommendation” is a bit presumptuous.

The Service Distinction

How about we start at $1, if that. That whole 15% thing is tied to service at a sit-down restaurant where you stay for about an hour and get waiter service, drinks, refills, regular check-ins, and so forth.

You don’t earn 15% for one minute worth of work that you’re getting paid to do anyway, while also being paid a normal wage.

Restaurant workers are often given a lower salary because of anticipated gratuities, but workers at fast casual places, ice cream shops, coffee houses, and so forth are probably paid a normal wage, albeit low.

This whole culture of tip everyone all of the time is completely out of control. And these new credit card machines are exacerbating the issue.

It’s especially awkward when you have to make your decision as the person waits on you. Oh, and one more thing. If you choose not to give them the default 15% tip, there seems to be a lack of decimal places when you manually enter your own amount.

I went the manual route and started typing 1-0-0…I figured that would be a buck, but it quickly popped up as $100! Fortunately, I saw my mistake and was able to hit the backspace, but I could see someone quickly going through the process and tipping much more than expected.

I’m honestly at the point now that when I see these machines, or know they’ll be in use, I just opt to use cash instead of plastic.

Maybe I’ll give them the change.