When you decided you wanted a cup of coffee, Starbucks was probably the first thing that came to mind. It is one of the best-established businesses in the United States and internationally, making it a very appealing option. But what if I have a 100-dollar bill and only want one coffee?
It is likely that this is your case, that you don’t have a single bill on you, but you still want to have a coffee or a sweet at Starbucks. If you are wondering if it is possible to pay a large bill and have it changed, here is an article about the policy of the famous coffee shop chain stores.
Can I Pay with a $100 bill at a Starbucks store?
Chances are that cashiers at a Starbucks store will not allow you to pay with a $100 bill. However, no official store policy specifies why they will not accept a high denomination bill payment.
However, at Starbucks Drive-thru, it is more common for them to accept a $100 bill if you want to pay with one. There are several possibilities; if the change is low, it is usually returned with $1 or $5 bills.
However, if it is a large change, they will most likely tell you they will not accept the bill, so you will have to pay with a smaller denomination bill.
Why Starbucks does not accept $100 bills
Although no Starbucks store policy specifies the coffee shop’s refusal to accept $100 bills, there are two main reasons why they prefer to reserve the right to accept them.
Not enough change for the bill
Remember that Starbucks specializes in individual and affordable purchases, such as coffee and candy. For that reason, bills are usually low, and change is constantly scattered among customers who need change for low-denomination bills.
Because of this issue, the main reason is that if you give them all the change for a high bill and keep the $100 bill in the cash register, they run the risk of not having change for the next customers since it is impossible to ask for a $100 bill for change.
In other words, the probability that a person with a single bill will exchange it for a $100 bill is very low. For this reason, it is not convenient to accept the $100 bill in exchange for the single they need to handle constantly. It is a lose-lose business.
It could likely be a forged bill.
The most counterfeited bills in the United States are $20 bills, true, but there is also a large batch of $100 bills that are being counterfeited. By not accepting them, the Starbucks store is not at risk of losing large amounts of money.
Losing $20 that ends up being counterfeit is different than losing $100 for that same reason. Add to that the fact that they lose the $100 in low bills when they hand over the change for the purchase. Whichever way you look at it, the store prefers not to handle these bills in their stores.
What should I do then?
Starbucks offers you several options when telling you they will not accept your bill. Obviously, the first one will ask you to pay with smaller denomination bills. However, if you don’t have any more cash, here are some alternatives they will offer you.
Another type of payment method
If you do not have lower bills that can meet the final bill, the most common is that you will be asked to pay with another type of payment method. Debit or credit card, VISA, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover may accept this.
Also allow mobile electronic payments such as Apple Pay, PayPal, Venmo, Bakk App, or Google Pay.
Change the bill in a convenience store.
Another option they may recommend you change the bill at a supermarket or convenience store. These are businesses; they are usually close by because they have several branches. A supermarket is very likely to have the change you need.
So it is very common for them to offer you to change the bill at a supermarket and then return to the Starbucks store to make the purchase.
The Starbucks worker may offer to pay your change on a Starbucks card if no other option is available. These cards have a capacity from $5 to $500, so they have enough capacity for the change you need.
They will tell you to buy the card in the store for the amount of change you need. This helps them to be able to give you an easy change because they won’t have to give you as much back. That way, you buy the card, and the excess is returned to you in cash.
“How to Pay at Starbucks – Starbucks Stories.” Starbucks Stories, https://stories.starbucks.com/press/2022/how-to-pay-at-starbucks/.
María Laura Landino is a journalist who graduated from Boston University with more than four years of experience in the financial sector. He has been responsible for several research papers published by major universities.
Content Manager of allaboutgroup company. You will find me in courier sections.