Does Starbucks Take 50 Dollar Bills

You’re on your way to work and craving a Frappuccino. Great, there’s a Starbucks nearby, but you only have a 50 dollar bill when you check your wallet. Will Starbucks take your large bill?

While there is no official Starbucks policy against taking 50 dollar bills, some individual locations may refuse large bills due to local concerns over counterfeit money and scamming. In other locations, however, you can pay for your order with a 50 dollar bill and face no problems. It is primarily up to management’s discretion. 

Keep reading to learn more about paying at Starbucks with large bills, how to avoid being turned down, and ways to avoid payment issues at Starbucks. 

Why Can’t I Use a 50?

What reasons might a Starbucks have for refusing large bills? Many locations across the country, not just Starbucks, struggle with the issue of counterfeit money, and this, in turn, hurts profits and creates an atmosphere of mistrust. That is extremely unfortunate for honest consumers, but some Starbucks locations may decline large bills to combat scams and protect the bottom line and employee wages. 

Another issue may be the time of day you are trying to buy. If Starbucks has just opened for the morning, there may not be enough large bills in the till to give you change back for 50. Alternatively, only a few people may have paid with cash that day, leaving the cashier with just a few fives and ones, not enough for change for a 50 without someone making a bank run. 

Not All Locations Are The Same

You may find that one Starbucks accepts large bills while another does not. This may vary based on location or the tendency of customers to pay with cash. In addition, some Starbucks locations may have no prior issues with fake currency and can safely accept your large bill.

So, something other than what works in one Starbucks as a payment method may work in another. Some locations will easily and willingly break a 50, while others will not. 

Is That Legal?

Yes, under certain circumstances, Starbucks does give managers at individual locations the discretion and authority to refuse payments in large bills. This is especially true if a location is in a neighborhood or a city with an especially high rate of counterfeit money in circulation.

While it may be annoying and surprising to be turned down, keep in mind that every fake bill a Starbucks receives and then has to lose takes money away from workers’ paychecks, reduces the revenue left for ingredients and supplies, and causes store problems at the bank. If a store submits too many fake bills to a local bank, this could impact its ability to continue a business relationship there. 

What If There’s No Sign?

If a Starbucks location has a policy of refusing large bills, are they legally obligated to notify customers of this via signage? 

In most localities, no. Even without signage explicitly stating so, locations can still restrict customers from paying large bills in accordance with managerial / store policies. But this needn’t restrict you from paying at all. While it is legal to refuse large bills, as long as you have enough to cover them, there are other ways to pay for your Starbucks experience. 

Ways to Pay

So what do you do if all you have is a 50? You have a few options if you want to get on your way Frappuccino in hand. One option would be to head to another nearby store or a bank and make change. Exchange your 50 dollar bill for ten 5 dollar bills, which should be sufficient for any Starbucks till. 

Another option would be to exchange your 50 dollar bill for a Starbucks gift card and then pay using the card. You’ll only be able to use that money at Starbucks now, but at least you’ll have a way to top up next time you’re heading to work. 

Another option, if you have a debit or credit card, is to pay with a card. It’s generally a good idea to leave home with both cash and a card, and the Starbucks you’re visiting should have a card reader on hand to facilitate payment. 

A third hybrid option would be to use your 50 towards a 30-40 dollar Starbucks gift card and then use the rest of your 50 to pay for your drink. You’ll get a few dollars in ones and fives back and a nice, newly loaded Starbucks gift card that can be used at any location. 

Pay With Your Phone

Many Starbucks accepts Apple Pay, so this could be another option if you have this payment method on your phone. And if your location accepts Google Pay, this can be a way for you to get your drink and get on the road, too. While not all locations necessarily accept both or either payment type, it’s a good idea to ask and verify if your favorite location is optimized for Apple or Google Pay.

Another great way to pay if you love paying for things with apps is the Starbucks App. Not only can you use the app to order and customize your drink, but it can also be used as a form of payment. Load up your Starbucks App account with funds, order your beverage, and scan the QR code in the app to pay. Everything can be done from your smartphone, and the app is available for Android and Apple devices. 


While some Starbucks can happily accept a 50 dollar bill, other locations will not. Reasons for declining your 50 may be related to counterfeit currency worries or insufficient funds in the till. This is up to the management of individual locations and is legal. 

While your local Starbucks may not take your 50 dollar bill, you may break the 50 at a nearby bank or store and then make a cash payment in smaller bills. Customers can also pay with a combination of cash and gift cards, with Apple Pay or Google Pay at participating locations, with the Starbucks App, or with a debit or credit card.

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