Big tipper? Find out which states are most and least generous with gratuities

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If you’re like many Americans, you may feel that what you tip at a particular restaurant has everything to do with the service you’re getting ‘ but that may not necessarily be the case. A recent study shows which region you live may have a bearing on how much appreciation you show your waiter or waitress.

Americans tip an average of 16.4% at restaurants, bars and other places of business, according to a study from payment processing company Square. The findings are the results of more than 2 million credit and debit card transactions gathered by Square from big and small businesses in all 50 states in July of last year.

Which states tip the best & worst?

Which state tips the worst? It may have sky-blue water and beautiful mountain ridges, but if you’re a server in Hawaii, you’re getting the short end of the surfboard. Patrons only doled out an average of 14.8% after a meal, the study shows.

Now, you may be saying, “Not me! I always tip my server more than enough!” Keep in mind that Square’s figures only take into account credit and debit cards. If you’re a cash tipper, which many servers actually prefer, these numbers don’t include you.

At the same time, technology has influenced tipping as well. One survey by the restaurant tech reviews companies Software Advice, found that patrons prompted to press “no tip” on a device opted to tip more.

So how does where you live affect your generosity when you’re out to eat? Here is a state-by-state breakdown of tipping in restaurants, bars and other businesses, from lowest to highest percentages of the bill:

  • Hawaii — 14.8%
  • Washington, DC — 14.9%
  • Massachusetts — 15.0%
  • California — 15.2%
  • Rhode Island — 15.3%
  • New Jersey — 15.5%
  • New York — 15.6%
  • Connecticut — 15.9%
  • Maryland — 15.9%
  • Tennessee — 15.9%
  • Vermont — 16.0%
  • Maine — 16.0%
  • Minnesota — 16.0%
  • Virginia — 16.0%
  • South Dakota — 16.1%
  • Washington — 16.3%
  • Montana — 16.4%
  • Illinois — 16.4%
  • Georgia — 16.4%
  • Florida — 16.4%
  • Oregon — 16.4%
  • Wisconsin — 16.5%
  • Alabama — 16%
  • Nevada — 16.6%
  • Louisiana — 16.6%
  • Utah — 16.6%
  • Missouri — 16.6%
  • Colorado — 16.6%
  • Texas — 16.6%
  • New Hampshire — 16.7%
  • Nebraska — 16.7%
  • South Carolina — 16.7%
  • Ohio — 16.7%
  • Pennsylvania — 16.7%
  • North Carolina — 16.7%
  • North Dakota — 16.8%
  • Wyoming — 16.8%
  • Kansas — 16.8%
  • Oklahoma — 16.8%
  • Michigan — 16.8%
  • Arkansas — 16.9%
  • New Mexico — 6.9%
  • Iowa — 17.0%
  • Kentucky — 17.0%
  • Mississippi — 17.0%
  • Alaska — 17.1%
  • Indiana — 17.1%
  • Delaware — 17.2%
  • Arizona — 17.3%
  • West Virginia — 17.3%
  • Idaho — 17.4%

So how much should you tip? Money expert Clark Howard has an interesting story about it.

“I tip 20% if the service is as it should be,” Clark writes. “I used to tip 15%, but my producer Kim told me back in the ’90s, she was a server before she worked on the show. Apparently, I came in to her restaurant before I knew her and she was my server. She said she never had anybody have a lower ticket price for two people the entire time she was there! And that I tipped exactly 15%.”

RELATED: Holiday tipping: Who to tip and who to skip

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