Square E-Pay Masters the Art of the Somewhat-Mandatory Tip

Square E-Pay, which presents users with tip options, has seen a 37% increase in tips over the last year, reports Fast Company.

Photo: Square, Bubblews

Photo: Square, Bubblews

In ye olden days (before 2000), customers enjoyed a meal and then received a paper check. The big, blank space below the total could often be left empty because of the extra math involved (or something).

Within the last few years, e-payment start up Square has liberated small businesses from cash-only payment, the seventh circle of hell. What’s more, Square places heavy emphasis on the necessity of tips.

Replacing the antiquated tip jar, which was often overlooked, Square provides a screen specifically dedicated to tips during the checkout process. The e-pay service gives customers the option to push buttons for 15, 20, and 25 percent tips. They can also enter their own percentage for a tip.

Want to walk away like Scrooge McDuck? You’ll have to actively push a “no tip” button under the pleading gaze of your barista.

tippp Square E Pay Masters the Art of the <i>Somewhat</i> Mandatory Tip

The psychological reinforcement seems to be working. Fast Company reports that Square generated $70 million in tips last quarter alone.

Fast Company attributes to the raise in tips to ease of use, comparing it to NYC taxis’ switch to touch screen payment.

The article reports,

“When the city added touch-screen devices to the cab and began accepting cards, the average tip shot up to 22%, reportedly boosting annual tips by $144 million. Why? Because the user interface presented the passenger with three default tip options: 20%, 25%, or 30%.”

It’s worth noting that Starbucks has even bought into the trend. The coffee megaforce is debuting a digital tip feature for their mobile app, reports Slate. The service was requested by customers.

The tip system comes just in time for Starbucks’ new foray into wine and beer. Customers are meant to tip their barista like they’d tip a bartender.

Does Square make you feel guilty enough to tip? Let us know in the comments.

[via Slate]

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