American Express Card Statement Shows Restaurant Tips

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If you’re like me, you keep receipts to reconcile with your credit card transactions online. If you dine somewhere you leave a tip, you might be wary that the waitperson might alter your tips, either by accident or on purpose. If you just see the total amount charged and lose your receipt, it’s hard to remember what your tip was. Well, I just noticed on an American Express credit card statement that they actually break down the food and tip charges for your convenience.

I didn’t bother scanning, but it looks just like this:

MOM & POP INDIAN CUISINE $26.44

FOOD/BEVERAGE $22.44
TIP $4.00

A nifty feature, I wonder why others don’t do this as well. However, I am still sticking with the Citi Forward for the 3.5% cash back.

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Comments

  1. It’s because Amex is both the card issuer and the owner of the network – they can do a lot more than the other card issuers can,,,

  2. another way around this that doesn’t involve the credit cards is to always round out your tip to equal an even amount. Say the bill is $8.43 with tax. then I would tip $1.57 to bring it to an even $10 or $1.07 to make it $9.50.

  3. JC – That would be a good explanation.

    Nathan – What if they changed your total to $10.50 or 12.50?

  4. I’ve noticed a lot of restaurants are now breaking it down on the receipt for you between food/beverage and also some grocery shops are breaking down the items by category. I find this a very useful thing, especially with the grocery shops to see what you are spending and where.

  5. so I reconcile that against my registry and I always do dollars personally so it would always be 10 or 11, but this makes it easier to find discrepencies and less likely that it was my discrepency in the registry.

    I think it also lets the restaurant know that I didn’t do the tip mindlessly and they are less likely to fiddle with it.

    Plus I get to do math.

    Really it forces me to pay attention to what I am paying just like manually entering registry values forces me to be aware of my total spending habits at all times.

    Definitely not full proof, but I think it gets the job done and I have never had an issue with restaurants mischarging me since I started doing this. can’t speak to before since I have no records.

  6. Anyone know if it makes a difference in the ability of a small business to deduct a dinner as an entertainment expense? Do both the meal and the tip get treated equally?

  7. the only time I had a restaurant fiddle with a charge was in Eureka CA at a chinese takeout place. I didn’t leave a tip because it was a walk-in takeout (duh), and lo & behold the statement comes back with a $2 tip. I just called my CC customer service and they removed the charge. They even sent a warning letter to the merchant.

    Apparently Eureka is always in hard-times, so I’m not exactly surprised it happened. What a dump!

  8. Scott Lovingood says

    DCnTN – As far as I know the meal and tip would be treating the same. They are a normal cost of doing business. Just realize that you can only deduct 50% of the meal and need to be meeting with customers and truly discussing business.

    If you ever get audited this is an item they look at pretty closely. Document who you met with, what you discussed, any business that came from it, etc. The better your documentation the less likely you are to ever lose an audit.

    Plus doing a wrap up of the lunch/dinner will allow you to focus on what you achieved and expect out of the dinner to follow up on later.

  9. That’s a neat feature – but if you aren’t using Amex and don’t bother keeping receipts there are still ways to make sure restaurants aren’t adding on extra tips. I think I saw this idea on a post on Fatwallet.

    Warning: This might sound extreme but it’s actually a good way to keep your math skills in shape! It doesn’t take long to calculate once you get the hang of it.

    Basically the idea is to add an amount of tip on so the sum of the dollar digits = the sum of the cents digits

    For example, if my meal came out to $14.99, I’m looking at a 15% tip = .15 * $14.99 = $2.25. But instead of adding $2.25 tip, I’ll add $2.81, $2.72, $2.63, $2.54, $2.45, etc depending on my mood, the service, etc

    $14.99 + $2.45 = $17.44
    $14.99 + $2.54 = $17.53
    $14.99 + $2.63 = $17.62
    $14.99 + $2.72 = $17.71
    $14.99 + $2.81 = $17.80

    Notice how if you add the digits of the dollar (1+7) it equals the sum of the digits of the cents (4+4, 5+3, etc)

    When your monthly credit card statement comes, it’s really easy to scroll down and see if all of the numbers check out.

    You end up having to fib for some of the numbers like if your bill comes out to $10.50, you can add $1.07 and count only the “ones digit for the cents” $10.50 + $1.07 = $11.57
    1+1 = 2 and 5+7 = 12

  10. I like that clever checksum, thanks for sharing. I wonder if such funky tips would confuse the waitstaff. 🙂

  11. Thanks Scott!

  12. This is truly great,
    I’m a new reader and I have 2 quick and I hope easy questions.
    1) How many daily/weekly/monthly pleasures do you usually forgo? And do you/your family regret it?
    2) How many credit cards do you have now? I see you get a new credit card after promotions are over, do you also cancel the credit card after the promotion is over?

    Thank you.

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