A female escort smiles and holds up a stack of American dollars.
Paying an escort doesn't need to feel awkward...if you know what you're doing.

Paying an escort: What you need to know about payment etiquette

Georgie Wolf
Georgie Wolf

Got money on your mind? Often, the most awkward thing about spending time with a sex worker is paying your escort.

When it comes to seeing escorts, there are some practicalities that differ from other types of hook-ups. One of the biggest of these is – you guessed it – money. ‘How do I hand over the cash?’ ‘Should I tip? ‘How can I protect my privacy when paying a deposit?’ These questions are all practical, reasonable, and damn important.

Understanding (and getting comfortable with) the financial transaction is key to having a good escort experience. Here are some commonly-asked questions.

"Paying an escort is so awkward. How can I make things seem natural?"

Meeting an escort for the first time can be very nerve-wracking....and then there's the money.

If you feel ashamed of paying for sexual services, this is a time when all that negativity often comes up, because you're being reminded that it's a transaction, not a real-life date. You might start worrying that your escort doesn't really like you or that you won't be good in bed. If you feel bad about yourself, that vibe is going to show...and it might wreck your session.

The key to getting past awkwardness is acceptance. Here are a few facts:

  • It's totally okay to pay for a sexual experience! You're allowed to see sex workers to get your needs met.
  • Whether your escort likes you or not has nothing to do with the money, and everything to do with how you treat them.
  • Your escort isn't judging you or feeling awkward - to us, payment is just another part of the process.

"Do I have to pay a deposit?"

Depending on your escort, you may be asked to pay a deposit to secure your booking. Deposits are helpful for escorts, as it demonstrates that you're committed to turning up on the day.

When it comes to deposits, every escort has different requirements. Here are a few details to be aware of:

  • Payment method - how does your escort accept deposits? Options can include bank transfer, gift card, or deposit at an ATM (we'll talk about a few more payment options later in this article).
  • Amount - escorts may ask for a certain percentage of the total booking fee, or a certain amount to cover expenses. Everyone's different.
  • Refund policy - there may be conditions around getting your deposit back - for example, many workers don't refund for same-day cancellations. Make sure you're aware of the refund policy before you pay a deposit.

Are deposits necessary? Well, as with everything in life, you don't have to do anything you don't want to. But if you aren't willing to pay a deposit, you'll need to find a worker who doesn't require one. It could mean missing out on your first (or second, or third) choice!

If you're worried about handing over your cash, here are some tips for researching your escort, to ensure they're trustworthy.

"Do I need to pay my sex worker upfront at the start of the session?"

Yeah, you do. This is one of the non-negotiable rules of an escort encounter – payment must be made in full before anything can happen. But if you're overseas, the way it's done may differ...let's look at this in a little more detail.

If you’re paying in person at the start of the booking, here are a few options:

  • Cash – cash is the traditional and most reliable option. Note: If it’s a long booking, make sure you have the cash ready well ahead of time. Some guys go to the ATM to get the money out on the day and find that they can’t, because the sum exceeds their daily ATM limit!
  • Credit card – some escorts do accept credit card, although it’s rare. NEVER assume an escort accepts cards! Always ask. To be honest, unless they state on their advertisement that credit card payment is available, they probably don’t offer this option.
  • Lingerie, expensive jewellery... – no, I’m just kidding. Please don’t try to barter for our services with luxury goods (or goods of any sort). Just like you, we need to pay the bills, and that means we need cash in exchange for our work.

In places where sex work (mostly) is allowed by law, such as Australia, you need to pay right at the start. This means handing over the cash even before a social interaction, such as having a coffee or going out to dinner. Our service starts when we spend time with you, even if the clothes are still on!

If you’re meeting an escort for dinner or drinks before playtime, slipping them a discreet card or gift bag often works well. If you’re meeting in private, an envelope is considered the classy approach. Don’t be offended if we count it straight away! Clients can and do short-change us – as professionals, it’s important we check it immediately before we get into anything sexy.

Closeup: An escort client pays their provider with cash in an envelope.
Cash in an envelope is a great way to ay your escort - it shows you're a classy client.

If you're in a location such as the United States, where sex work is criminalized, the rules are different. Often, you'll need to avoid doing or saying anything that suggests you expect to exchange sex for money, so handing the escort your payment directly is a big no-no. Instead, place your cash somewhere discreet when you arrive - the coffee table or kitchen bench, for example - then give your escort some space so they can collect it discreetly.

A friend of mine who works in America says, "I really appreciate it when a client puts their donation to one side then excuses themselves to use the bathroom so I can count it. If  I have to drop hints, it gets really awkward."

"Should I pay for my escort booking in advance?"

Depending on your escort, you may have the option of paying days or weeks in advance via bank deposit, bank transfer, or some other online payment method.

Here are a few examples of the ways escorts might accept deposits or pre-payments:

  • Bank transfer – an escort may provide bank details for a transfer. The procedure might be instant, or it might take a few working days. For this reason, bank transfer aren't suitable for last-minute bookings.
  • Cash deposit at an ATM – this is a great option for clients who require discretion, as it doesn’t leave a paper trail. In Australia, cash can be deposited directly into many bank accounts via a 'smart ATM'. Bonus: you don’t even have to talk to a bank teller! It’s also instant and therefore useful for last-minute appointments.
  • BPay – In Australia, some escorts accept BPay transfers. This takes a while to process –  It’s only suitable if you’re organising a booking well ahead of time.
  • BeemIt – There’s a money transfer service called BeemIt that keeps all your personal information private and allows you to pay someone using only their username. The app is available on most smartphones in Australia. If you haven’t checked it out, it’s worth a look.

The advantage of pre-payment is that you don't need to bring cash with you when you meet your worker in person. However, there are a few things to be aware of:

  • Understand the cancellation policy. Every escort has different terms and conditions for pre-payments. If you cancel a booking, you may not get a refund, depending on your reasons and how much notice you give. To prevent disputes, check your escort’s terms and conditions beforehand.
  • Some pre-payment methods are trackable. If privacy is an issue for you, making a bank transfer may not be an option. Instead, ask whether your escort offers alternatives, such as cash deposit directly at a branch.

‘Should I leave my provider a tip?’

When seeing escorts, the decision of whether to tip is totally up to you.

Georgie says: "Clients don't tip me very often, but I’m thrilled when it does happen! It makes me feel so appreciated."

If you’re considering giving a gift but have trouble deciding, a tip is a safe choice. Unlike shoes, jewelry or candy, you don’t have to worry about your escort’s particular tastes. Cash is never wrong!

"Should I tip before the session, or after?"

I always recommend tipping after the session.

Overpaying beforehand could put pressure on your playmate - they might worry that you’re going to demand extra services or special treatment. Everyone's different, but I feel that a tip should be a ‘thank you,’ not a ‘you owe me’. Tipping at the end sends the right message.

As with your payment, put the tip in an envelope and keep it aside until the right moment. Sometimes my clients write a card to go with their ‘thank-you cash’ – I have a collection of cards from my favorite regulars over the years, with all the lovely things they’ve said about our sessions together. It’s a great way to remember them.

The most important thing is to know that there’s no obligation. Whether you tip or don't, we'll appreciate you...as long as you treat us with kindness and respect.

Paying your escort doesn’t need to be complicated.

Many clients, especially first-timers, feel anxious about payment etiquette. But once you know how to handle it, you can concentrate on having fun.

Remember, it’s perfectly okay to ask your worker if you’re not sure how to proceed. It’s always better to ask than to feel awkward because you’re worrying about what to do next! Learning to handle payment before getting sexy might seem tricky, but with practice, it becomes a simple part of the process.