Can You Pay For A Tattoo With A Credit Card?

The cost of maintaining a tattoo collection might add up. As it is permanent and takes a lot of skill, payment for a complicated tattoo can take a toll on your wallet. Therefore, you may consider another means of payment. You might wonder if you can pay for a tattoo with a credit card.

The answer varies because If you ask different tattoo parlors, you’ll get other answers. Larger shops and chains often have the financial resources necessary to absorb the cost of taking credit cards and assume the accompanying risk. But smaller shops generally don’t want to take the risk.

In this article, we’ll discuss why your neighborhood tattoo parlor may not take credit cards, why the process is difficult with credit cards, whether you can pay for tattoos in installments, and everything you might ask about the topic.

Can You Pay For A Tattoo With A Credit Card

Are Tattoos Cash Only?

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Generally, tattoo shops prefer cash over other alternative payment methods because it is easier for them to cash out. Doing a tattoo is a permanent thing, and it is important that the tattoo artist gets paid upfront. If a customer can not pay for it upfront, it is a hassle to extract money from them later on as it may involve a lot of complications.

It’s important to note that tattoo parlors often only take cash payments for various reasons. One of its primary benefits is a decreased possibility of fraud. Cash transactions are more complex for outsiders to track, so employees or customers are less likely to steal from the store.

Do Tattoo Shops Accept Credit Cards?

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The acceptance of credit cards by tattoo parlors varies by location. However, some credit cards have minimum purchase requirements before they may be accepted. Some tattoo shops may also charge extra if you pay with a credit card.

If you’re not sure whether or not a tattoo shop accepts credit cards, it’s always best to call ahead and ask. If your original payment method is declined, you will be ready to use another method.

Is It Difficult to Pay For Tattoos Using Credit Cards?

Is It Difficult to Pay For Tattoos Using Credit Cards - Tattoo Strategies
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Yes. There are many factors involved that make tattoo artists not take risks regarding credit cards.


It is common practice for tattoo artists to require a deposit when discussing being inked. Getting a tattoo is a long process, and most individuals schedule an appointment or ask for a unique design when they are ready to have one. The deposit ensures the tattooist against the customer not showing up for the appointment or canceling at the last minute.

A tattoo artist may lose money if a customer cancels after making an appointment or requesting a special design. Without the client’s scheduled appointment, the tattoo parlor would have been able to book another customer for the same day, giving them the chance to execute a tattoo and collect payment.

Tax Reasons

Since credit card transactions leave a paper trail, some stores refuse to accept them. Tattoo parlors are the same way; artists and shop owners prefer not to have paper records of their earnings sometimes.

If the tattoo shop has tangible evidence that you paid for your tattoos, such as a receipt or a paper trail in their payment processing system, they are legally required to declare the income to the IRS and pay any applicable taxes. This is beginning to sound quite suspicious. It is a federal offense in the United States of America to either underreport your income or avoid paying your taxes altogether.

This is called tax evasion and may lead to a swift trip to jail if you are caught. There are businesses that exclusively accept cash, but the IRS has not been able to track any of the transactions made there. Finally, they tend to overlook such transgressions about smaller businesses. However, it does not make such conduct legitimate.

Transaction Fees

The shop is responsible for paying the payment/transaction charge each time your card is used. As an example, let’s say you’re buying groceries. The transaction fee, which may vary from 1.5 percent to 4 percent, is deducted from the total amount charged to your card when the clerk swipes it at checkout.

This may add up to a significant sum quite rapidly, but large-scale enterprises can probably afford it. But the transaction fees are just too high for a small tattoo shop. They might lose as much as $40 in a single transaction for each standard tattoo they sell. Considering that a typical tattoo shop makes between $200,000 and $240,000 per year, we can say that credit card transaction fees would go up to about $7000 per year.

On top of that, they have to buy credit card machines, which can amount to hundreds of dollars. So, it is pretty much evident why tattoo artists want to skip credit cards.

Card Transection Protection

It’s possible that you’ll be charged for something but never really get the item or service for which you were paid. Your credit card provider has the right to take action, such as withholding funds or charging you back, in this scenario.

As helpful as this is, there will inevitably be others who abuse it. A customer receives a tattoo and uses a credit card to cover the cost. They sometimes phone their credit card company to protest a hefty bill. If that happens, the credit card company won’t release the funds to the tattoo parlor, even if the artist did a great job.

There are specific individuals that are cunning and dishonest, and they will use whatever means necessary to deceive others. Tattoo artists often only take cash payments because they fear they won’t be paid otherwise.


They won’t tell you this, but when your tattoo is complete, you should tip your artist. It is considered impolite not to tip a hardworking server or bartender. Tips of 10% to 25% of the total cost of the tattoo are standard. Depending on how satisfied you are with the service and the quality of your $500 tattoo, you may like to leave a tip of $75 to $100.

If all tattoo parlors accepted credit cards, how would customers leave gratuities? A significant reason tattoo parlors don’t take credit cards is that customers may only tip them in cash.

Credit Card Companies and Bank Policies

In most cases, you won’t have to worry about being denied service if you want to use your credit card or bank account to pay for a tattoo. If the card issuer learns that the tattoo is being purchased for a child and that such minors are prohibited by local law from receiving tattoos without parental consent and physical presence, the issuer may refuse to authorize payment for the tattoo.

Can You Pay For Tattoos in Installments?

Can You Pay For Tattoos in Installments - Tattoo Strategies
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Yes and no. Financing plans are available at certain tattoo parlors, allowing you to pay for your ink over time. Not all tattoo parlors are as accommodating, however. Even if your tattoo parlor is ready to provide credit, they may insist on a deposit before they start working on your design.

If getting a tattoo is something you want to do, but you are worried about the cost, you should inquire about the shop’s payment policies before scheduling an appointment. If not, you may need to fork out the money for your ink all at once.


Hopefully, we have cleared up all the confusion regarding this issue. So, to answer the question, “Can you pay for tattoos with a credit card?” Many tattoo shops don’t accept credit cards, but big shops usually do. Tattoo parlors accepting just cash is sensible.

Tattooing is a personal service, like piercings and manicures. Body art services usually nearly take cash since credit cards are a risky idea. Service providers are unprotected and not completely compensated.

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