Are you planning a trip to Starbucks, but you only have a $50 or $100 bill to pay with?
This can be problematic, as many stores do not like splitting large bills – especially smaller stores that only have one register.
So, does Starbucks accept $50 and $100 bills? What about in the drive-thru? And if not, what can be done instead?
In this article, I’ll be answering all of these questions and more!
Does Starbucks Accept $100 Bills?
Starbucks may accept $100 bills, but it’s dependent on the individual store, and the individual cashier to make the decision.
According to several Starbucks employees that I spoke with, they generally avoid breaking $100 bills as they do not have enough small bills in the register to cover the change for the next customers. Additionally, many Starbucks locations do not have the tools necessary to check the authenticity of the bill, and may deny it in fear that it may be counterfeit.
That being said, there is no official policy against accepting $100 bills. However, Starbucks employees told me that you may receive change back in rolls of quarters, which isn’t likely the ideal scenario.
You may be more likely to have success if placing a large order at once – such as ordering coffee for your entire office / workplace, as this will minimize the amount of change necessary for your purchase.
Does Starbucks Accept $50 Bills?
Like $100 bills, Starbucks may or may not accept $50 bills, as it is up to the individual cashier, and the amount of cash they have on-hand in the register.
However, you are more likely to have success paying with a $50 bill than a $100 bill, as less change will be required.
This is another instance where the size of your order matters a lot. While Starbucks may have no problem accepting a $50 bill if your order amounts to say, $35, they’re far less likely to accept if if you only ordered a Caffè Americano for around $3.
What About The Drive-Thru?
So far, we’ve talked about Starbucks’ policies for large bills while paying inside the store. But what about when using the drive-thru?
According to reports from customers, they’ve actually found an increased success rate when trying to pay with large bills in the drive-thru, vs. using them in the store!
The exact cause for this isn’t exactly known. It may be because Starbucks employees have already begun preparing your order by the time you pull up to the window to pay.
That being said, there is always the chance that they legitimately are unable to offer change for a $100 bill, and will have to cancel your order – leading to frustration for the both of you.
Although it may seem surprising that they wouldn’t have change – especially while ordering late in the day, Starbucks keeps only a limited amount of cash in the register at any given time. This is to cut down on robbery or theft from employees.
So, if they tell you that they don’t have the cash to break your $100 bill, it may be the truth.
When Does Starbucks NOT Accept $50 / $100 Bills?
Generally, there are three reasons why Starbucks would be unable to accept a $50 or $100 bill.
The first, as I’ve covered already, is a lack of cash in the register.
If the person before you paid with a large bill, they may have already used up the smaller bills in the register, and will be unable to provide you adequate change.
The second situation is if they don’t have a way to verify the bill is legitimate. This is particularly problematic for older $100 bills that are still in circulation, and do not have the same anti-counterfeit measures that modern bills have.
Finally, the employee may simply not want to deal with the hassle. Among online forums, several Starbucks employees admitted to lying or making up excuses for when customers wanted to pay with a $100 bill, even when they actually had the cash available. Admittedly, one employee mentioned that they’d get in trouble for this if their boss found out.
I Only Have A $100 Bill! What Should I Do?
You’re in desperate need of coffee, but you only have a large bill that you fear Starbucks won’t accept. What should you do?
Ideally, you should always have smaller bills on hand. If your local Starbucks location is located near your bank, you can always swing by and ask to receive smaller bills in exchange for your $50 or $100 bill.
Most grocery stores accept $100 bills as well, so you can also swing by and pick up a few snacks while breaking your $100 bill at the same time.
As mentioned earlier, minimizing the amount of change necessary will increase the odds that Starbucks will accept your large bill. So, if you can get closer to spending $50 or $100 on your order, it increases the odds that you’ll be able to use your large bill without any problems.
Finally, you may consider using a different payment method other than cash. A full list of payment methods that Starbucks accepts will be listed below.
What Other Payment Methods Does Starbucks Accept?
Other than cash, Starbucks currently accepts the following payment methods:
- American Express
- Google Pay
- Apple Pay
- Starbucks Gift Cards
Note that Venmo and PayPal can only be used to add cash to the Starbucks app – you then use the Starbucks app itself to pay. Transferring cash directly from Venmo / PayPal to your local Starbucks location is not possible.
Additionally, Apple and Google Pay may not be accepted at all Starbucks stores.
Can Starbucks Legally Deny My $100 Bill?
Making a trip out to Starbucks only to have your bill denied can be frustrating. But are they legally required to accept it?
It turns out, they’re not!
Stores are allowed to set their own policies regarding the bills that they accept.
Technically, they are not legally required to accept cash as a payment option at all.
So although it may be frustrating, please don’t get angry at the cashier if they are unable to break your $100 bill. Usually, it’s not their fault!
Although your local Starbucks location may be willing to break your $100 or $50 bill, this isn’t always the case.
Often, it will depend on the amount of cash available in the register, as well as the order size. If you only have large bills available, consider going somewhere else to receive change, or using a different payment method.
I hope that this article has answered all of your questions. If you have any other questions about Starbucks, ask them below and I’ll be happy to help.
Wishing you the best,
– James McAllister