Tip Jars Go Digital With DipJar

Facebook, DipJar

You can't fill the tip jar at your local coffee shop by swiping a credit card. At least, you couldn't until DipJar, a New York and Boston-based startup that's found a creative way of dealing with the fact that many customers prefer to carry cards over spare cash.

DipJar lets customers leave $1 tips by dipping their card in the eponymously-named device, which makes a tumbling-change sound to confirm that the transaction has gone through. Over the past two years, the startup has been testing out DipJar at 20 locations around New York, but could add up to 200 more after receiving $420,000 from investors.

Workers at New York's Fresco Gelateria, which uses DipJar, make an extra $15 to $20 a week from the device, which also saves time divvying up tips at the end of the day. Co-owner Ilias Iliopoulos told CNN Money that, overall, it's brought in between $150 and $200 per month, although DipJar keeps six percent of the profits.

Nevertheless, employees of the store still make more money ($15 to $20 per day) from the traditional glass jar. And with high noise levels in some shops, the audio confirmation of a DipJar transaction may be too quiet to hear, leading some customers to dip their cards repeatedly in confusion.

"It's just hard to hear amongst the ambient sounds of coffee grinding, music, air conditioning and chatter," DipJar Ryder Kessler told CNN Money. "That's a big flaw that we're fixing: amping up the change-clinking configuration in the next unit."

Kessler added that future models will also include a blinking light to confirm successful transactions. Until then, dip attentively.
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