Check, please? Millennials suffer extreme anxiety when picking up the tab for friends   

  • Nearly one third of millennials (32%) feel awkward splitting the bill when dining out with friends
  • 46% of millennials say putting group charges on their credit card causes them extreme anxiety 
  • Meanwhile, the other half throw down their cards to earn points and rewards

Dining out with friends is all fun and games until the bill comes and groups are left to decide how they’d like to split the tab. Does the person who ordered more pay more? What about the person who decided not to imbibe, should they pay less? Then there’s the question of who puts their card down, who should Venmo who and how much do they owe? This mental gymnastics can be exhausting for those simply trying to enjoy a night out with friends and, in some cases, can be the source of extreme financial anxiety. 

According to a study conducted by Qualtrics on behalf of Intuit Credit Karma, nearly one third of millennials (32%) feel awkward splitting the bill with friends, the most of any generation. Some are so concerned, they’re even willing to pay the full cost of a bill to avoid awkward conversations about money. This is true for nearly half (47%) of millennials. That’s compared to 33% of Gen Z and 31% of boomers. 

Footing the bill might not be the best choice for millennials, especially if they plan to use credit to treat their friends. According to the study, nearly half (46%) of millennials say putting large group charges on their credit card causes them extreme anxiety. This could have something to do with the fact that one-in-five millennials don’t feel comfortable requesting money from friends after a night out, making it difficult for them to recover costs and potentially perpetuating the financial anxiety associated with splitting the bill. 

While many millennials get extreme anxiety when asked to put their credit card down for the table, the other half say they actually prefer to put group charges on their card – and they’re doing it for the points and rewards. Using credit cards to earn points and rewards can really add up, especially if someone is consistently covering the cost of group tabs and actually getting paid back by others in the group. According to the study, 40% of millennials who prefer to put charges on their card to earn rewards say, on average, more than half of their monthly credit card points and rewards are earned from covering the bill for others. And they’re not letting them go to waste. Of millennial respondents who prefer to pay for the table, 80% say they actually use the points and rewards earned from covering other people’s bills.

When it comes to who should pay for what, more than half of millennials (52%) say if one person’s portion of the meal costs more, they should pay for a larger portion of the bill. Another 29% of millennial respondents believe the person who earns the most money should be responsible for the bill. Regardless, the majority of millennials (82%) believe repayments should be made within one week, with 40% saying they only give people a few days to send payment requests.  

“We all have that friend who offers to pay the bill for the group in exchange for Venmo requests,” said Courtney Alev, consumer financial advocate at Credit Karma. “While that friend may offer relief to those who feel a sense of dread when asked to put their card down, it’s causing people to  leave money on the table. Many premium dining-out credit cards offer the equivalent of 3% or more in rewards, which means a portion of the bill is going back to whoever paid the tab. This might seem insignificant, but it can really add up for those who are mindful about their spending habits and optimize their credit card usage to earn points and rewards – especially for something as frequent as dining out. Another thing that really surprised me was that some millennials are willing to cover the cost of their friends’ meals to avoid awkward conversations about money. Treating your friends occasionally is a kindness, but it isn’t sustainable, especially during a period of high inflation. If you’re someone who feels awkward talking about money, consider carrying cash to dinners with friends. That way you can stay on budget without having to deal with an uncomfortable conversation.” 


This survey was conducted online within the United States by Qualtrics on behalf of Intuit Credit Karma between June 7, 2023 and June 9, 2023 among 1,005 adults ages 18 and older.