Bartender Shares Hack to Use Against Folks Trying to Pay With Declined Credit Cards

This bartender shared an interesting hack for dealing with declined credit cards, but her methods have divided the internet over its implications.

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

Sep. 20 2023, Published 6:50 p.m. ET

If you're a bartender or have ever been one in the past, you've probably got a few grievances in common with other folks in the business. From rowdy customers to poor tippers, from oversharers to the occasional fight you have to break up, bartenders have dealt with all of this and then some. Chief among these stressors, however, might just be folks who "forget" to take back their credit cards right as they happen to get declined when it comes time to pay.

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Bartender Michelle Charlotte on TikTok (@michellebellexo) knows this struggle all too well, having dealt with customers who seemingly know that their cards are about to be declined when they try to close out their tab. To that end, though, she shared an interesting hack for these cards. However, folks on the internet are divided over its moral implications. Let's break down Michelle's hack and what folk have to say about it.

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This bartender has a clever new hack for declined credit cards.

"I think it's messed up when people come in and they know their card only has 10 dollars on it and they rack up a hundred-dollar tab and then they just walk out," Michelle complains in her TikTok, which was posted in mid-September 2023.

It's understandable. After all, these folks are essentially stealing drinks from bars while tricking the service workers into thinking they're going to pay up. By the time they leave, there isn't much they can do to get these customers to own up.

However, Michelle has an interesting fix to this unique problem.

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She breaks it all down in her TikTok. If you're a bartender closing out folks who walked out on their tabs and someone's card declines, Michelle suggests running the card for one dollar or whatever your card minimum might be at your bar.

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If the card goes through for that minimum, you can supposedly leave yourself a tip in the amount of their tab along with an extra 20 percent for a gratuity tip.

"Most of the time, that tip is forced through and there's no way out of paying it," Michelle claims. "[It] forces them into the negative."

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From there, the larger "tip" supposedly goes to the bar and the 20 percent gratuity will still go to you. She also says that the only downside to this is that you'll eventually have to pay taxes on those credit card tips. She also highly suggests keeping the receipt in case the customer tries to dispute the charge. Banks will supposedly honor the bar's charge over the person who tried to steal drinks.

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Interestingly enough, folks are divided over this particular method of honoring tabs.

One person in the comments section claimed that this charge is "easily disputable," though Michelle claims that they've won past disputes.

Some folks even have fraud protection safeguards on their cards to prevent overcharging of this nature.

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However, Michelle stands by her hack.

"When you leave the bar and they have your credit card still but you know it's not gonna go through, that is illegal," she proclaims in a follow-up video.

As far as we can tell, Michelle has no issues fighting fire with fire when people try to weasel out of their tabs.

Whether or not you agree with Michelle's methods, we can all safely say that the best way to avoid situations like this is to pay properly for services rendered.

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