Restaurants in an increasing number of countries rely on handheld card readers that the waiter swipes in front of customers. This helps reduce fraud as the card does not leave the customer’s sight. Many of these systems do not allow a tip to be added after swipe, which can be confusing for US travelers accustomed to adding the tip to the credit card slip following initial swipe. I have forgotten this several times where I have not had enough cash on hand to tip. Best practice is to ask about tipping on credit card before handing over the card, so it can be added to the total. Some waitstaff will come out and say that they won’t see the money tipped onto the card, so that is something to consider.
This weekend in Dubai a restaurant brought me the bill with a helpful explanatory line, “Tips (Credit Card)” that alerted me to the need to add the tip upfront. (And yes, I confess, I like chicken livers.)