• 05.01.13

A Dead-Simple Tip Jar That Takes Credit Cards

Baristas rejoice! Just because customers are using plastic doesn’t mean your tips have to suffer.

It’s so easy to drop the loose change from your daily coffee purchase as a “thank you” for your favorite barista, but paying with plastic completely changes the transaction–oftentimes you don’t even have to sign, instead just cruising straight out the door with your morning cup. As cash purchases continue to wane, cafe aficionado (and empathetic soul) Ryder Kessler noticed that the servers at his local haunt weren’t getting tipped as much by credit-paying customers who would, normally, leave a little something behind. So he teamed up with his brother Judd to create DipJar–every counter employee’s new best friend.


The concept is simple; a single dip equals a single dollar. It’s separate from the regular payment, which eliminates the need for mental arithmetic on how much to give on a receipt, and it’s a quick in-and-out while the card’s still in your hand. Uniting a pared-down aesthetic with a no-brainer action was key to making the product a success; they capitalized on Judd’s economics PhD and various academic and behavioral research to refine the concept down to its essentials. “People are more likely to give when it’s made as easy as possible, and when a clear norm is articulated,” Ryder tells Co.Design. “So the biggest design decision was to eliminate any buttons or screens, and to pre-set the amount.” Once a retailer registers a DipJar, gratuities are distributed directly to the earning staff members.

Since they started testing in July of last year, the Kesslers have introduced DipJar to six New York cafes and two national charities, and they’re working now to meet the growing demand. And Ryder has seen the happy beneficiaries firsthand. “I walked into one of our cafés the other day and one of the baristas said she was so glad to see me–her last DipJar payment had covered her electric bill for the month. That was such a gratifying reminder of why we wanted to make it in the first place.”