Do digital payments affect tipped wages in hospitality?News / TechnologyBy Nick Vivion | February 26, 2015Share This article was originally published on Digital payments are primed for growth, especially as Google prepares to enter the fray with its own "Google Pay" for one-tap payments via Android phones.So as consumers increasingly shift to paying via digital platforms, how does it affect their tipping?This behavioral shift is important for hospitality managers to understand, as it affects how tipped wages are factored into the overall wage structures of hospitality venues at hotels, cafes and restaurants.A recent survey by SoftwareAdvice queried the tipping habits of 382 people who had recently completed a transaction via an iPad point-of-sale. It turns out that digital payment systems that include a recommended tip, as well as a server that is present during the tip phase of the transaction, are providing an increased wage basis due to higher tips.Overall, an iPad POS system has the most impact on tips when the server is nearby. This would be during a transaction that is either signed at the table or at the register in a quick serve situation.When it comes to entering the tip, an overwhelming 86% of respondents want to be able to enter their own tip into the system. This means that they would prefer not to either be asked by the worker about a tip, or to sign a receipt that would then be entered into the POS by the worker.If the server was responsible for entering the tip into the system in front of the guest, those surveyed tipped "much more" or "somewhat more" 31% of the time. That's a lot of folks offering larger tips when inputted directly by the server!The gender breakdown of this situation is even more interesting, as females are more generous when face-to-face with the person being tipped.One of the most theorized means of encouraging consumers to leave a tip is to require an "opt-out" button when a consumer is finishing the transaction on an iPad. The survey bears this out:There's no word yet on how more seamless tap-to-pay situations will work out for tipped workers, as each of these integrations has its own interface. Ideally, there would be a tip screen prior to closing the tab, as with the Apple Pay integration on OpenTable. Even so, it seems that digital payments have a very similarEven so, it seems that digital payments have a very similar impact on spending habits to credit cards, where the absence of cash causes consumers to spend more overall while also encouraging higher tips. The research linked previously also called out a 2014 study that found a 38% increase in tips for merchants after implementing digital payments POS Square.Digital payments do seem to have a real impact on front-line hospitality workers. So go digital and tip away!NB: Digital payments image courtesy Shutterstock.