London, 1st September 2016 – More than half (55%) of British people think couples should split the bill on a first date at a restaurant, while two out of five(39%) still think the man should pay most or all of the bill.

4R9A9050But despite modern attitudes to paying, men are still overwhelmingly more likely to pick up the tab on a date. More than half (56%) of British men/ say they have typically paid most or all of the bill, 38% of couples have split the cost equally, taken it in turns or say it has varied, and just 3% of women paid outright.

Ipsos MORI surveyed 2,155 British people on behalf of Mastercard, and found that younger people are significantly more likely to say the bill should be split – two thirds (64%) of 16-24 year olds say couples on a first date should go halves, compared to less than half (46%) of 55-75 year olds.

New technologies are reinventing the way people pay when eating out. With Qkr with Masterpass, consumers can add items to their order, split tabs, add a tip and pay the bill from their smartphone. Qkr makes payments seamless, simple and secure, allowing diners to enjoy their meal rather than worry about splitting the bill.

Scott Abrahams, Mastercard said: “It’s interesting to see how attitudes to paying the bill differ between generations – the majority of people think daters should split the bill, but tradition and awkwardness can get in the way. The bill should never interfere with a first date, so Qkr allows you to split and pay the bill at your table without the fuss, leaving daters to focus on romance.”

Brits go Dutch – what different age groups think about splitting the bill on a first date

Age group Couples should split the bill equally Man should pay most or all Woman should pay most or all
16-24 64% 31% 2%
25-34 62% 30% 2%
35-44 56% 35% 3%
45-54 55% 42% 0%
55-75 46% 49% 0%

What they say versus what they pay

While just a quarter (24%) of women think the man should pay for the entire bill on the first date, many men still feel they should foot the bill. Almost half (49%) of British men think the man should pay for most or all of the bill, and indeed in their own experience of going on dates, 56% have done so.

In fact, women are more in favour of splitting the bill, as more than two thirds of them (67%) say the bill should be split on a first date, compared to 43% of men.

But habits differ between generations – as while nearly three quarters (73%) of men aged 55-75 say they’ve typically paid for most or all of the bill in their experience of dating, less than half (43%) of men between 16 and 34 say the same.

Mastercard - split the bill fact 2-01

Dr Becky Spelman, Psychologist, Private Therapy Clinic commented on the findings: “Bill-splitting behaviour is broadly tracking social change. Whereas in the past, women often didn’t work or earned significantly less than men, today more women are paid fairly for what they do. As a result, there’s no reason why a couple on a first date shouldn’t pay the bill between them, and more of them are doing so than ever before.

“On the other hand, it is interesting that despite people saying couples should split the bill, the majority of men pay on a first date. So why the disconnect? It helps to see the man’s credit card as a bit like a peacock’s tail! A male peacock grows a long and beautiful tail to impress potential mates. On a deep-rooted, instinctive level, human males feel the need to do something to impress – and in our materialistic society, what better than flashing a credit card?

“If the relationship develops, there will be plenty of time to discuss who pays for what – on the first night out, it’s probably safer to share the bill.”


Notes to editors

Research was undertaken by Ipsos MORI on behalf of Mastercard. It surveyed a nationally representative quota sample of 2,155 British adults aged 16-75 using its online Omnibus on their attitudes towards dating and paying the bill in August 2016.

/ Participants were asked about their personal experiences of going on a date at a restaurant. For the reporting of this question, those who said they have no experience of dating have been filtered out of the data.

About Qkr! with Masterpass

Qkr! with Masterpass is a mobile app that enables consumers to order and pay for goods and services without having to wait. Developed in Mastercard Labs, this app makes mobile transactions simple, convenient and secure. Qkr! is already used throughout wagamama, Zizzi and ASK Italian restaurants, saving time for customers and waiters alike. Young’s and Geronimo pubs will also go live in September.

About Mastercard

Mastercard (NYSE: MA),, is a technology company in the global payments industry.  We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories.  Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, travelling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone.  Follow us on Twitter @MastercardUKBiz, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the