Cash In Hand

When we hit a language barrier, most people fall back on body language – but not all hand gestures mean the same in every country.

Take a look at our 'handy' guide to financial gestures from around the world and barter or request the bill with confidence on your next trip.


Money – Forming a circle with the thumb and index finger of your right hand is a common gesture for money in Japan.


“I’m Broke” – Pointing your middle and index fingers towards your eyes, brush your fingers downwards as if to demonstrate tears.


Giving money – In Korea it’s polite to use two hands when giving or receiving something from another person. As such, you should use your free hand to support your arm when handing over or receiving money.


No money – In Peru you can let people know that you’re a little short on cash by pressing your neck with your index finger. This is the gesture for the slang word ‘aguja’ and the English translation for “estoy aguja” is “I have no money”.


Money – Scratching the palm of your left hand with the fingers of your right is a common gesture for money in Ghana.


Stingy/cheap person – Tapping your elbow with the palm of your hand is a way of signalling that someone is cheap or stingy in Mexico.


Ask for bill – Asking for the bill in the Philippines is as easy as drawing a rectangle in the air. Form triangles with the tips of your index fingers and thumbs, effectively drawing an imaginary check in the air.


Stingy/cheap person – Being overly cautious with your cash in the Netherlands might result in someone rubbing their forefinger down their nose indicating that they think you’re a little stingy.