Starbucks Mobile Payment App Will Allow 2-Hour Tipping Window

Starbucks says that 1-in-10 customers now uses the company’s mobile payment app when buying their lattes and whatnot at the coffee colossus, but these customers must currently dig into their pockets if they want to show their appreciation with a tip for the barista. But starting next week, iPhone users will have the option of leaving digital tops at the ‘bucks.

The AP reports that the iPhone update coming on March 19 will allow Starbucks customers to add tips of $.50, $1 or $2 after they place their order. Unlike online-ordering services like GrubHub or, where you’re adding in the tip at the time of making the purchase, the Starbucks app will give customers a two-hour window to decide if the service was worth the extra money.

Most restaurant servers earn hourly wages below the minimum wage and rely on tips to survive, but Starbucks baristas are paid above that minimum wage line and any tips left by customers help to supplement their income. This is one of the reasons that not all customers leave a tip, or only leave one when they receive extraordinary service.

Not all Starbucks locations will be included in the tipping option, only the 64% of stores that are company-owned will take part in the program initially. That leaves out most of those Starbucks stores you find in places like airports, retail stores, and inside the lobbies of office buildings; those locations are generally franchised.

Starbucks says the tipping option was requested by app users, who wanted the ability to leave a gratuity after making their purchase. The company says that though the tips from the app would be made electronically, employees will still be paid their share of the tips in cash the same way they get tip money now.

One employee at Starbucks tells the AP that the tipping option could help increase the amount of tips received by baristas, but cautions that employers shouldn’t rely on tips to make up for low wages, saying, “It’s a way of claiming workers make more than you’re paying them.”

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