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The best bill splitting apps to use with friends
Discover apps that allow you to split bills, send payments and request funds
Payments — especially between friends — are always a little awkward. You might get stuck splitting a dinner bill equally when you only had an appetizer and water, or your one friend who always forgets to pay you back forgot their wallet (again). Well, there are now apps that are designed to make payments between friends, groups or anyone else a lot easier.
What are bill-splitting apps?
Bill-splitting apps are smartphone applications that allow you to divide up bills between friends, family and anyone else, and some even link to your credit or debit card so that you can send money instantly. Whether you’re out to dinner, planning a weekend away or coordinating any other purchase with a group, these apps let you split up the cost so that everyone pays their fair share. They’re available on your mobile phone’s app store, so all you’ll need to do is download the app, sign up and start splitting.
Compare bill-splitting apps
There are a number of apps that allow you to send money to other banks, request money you’re owed or split a bill between a group. You can also use some of them to manage ongoing costs like shared expenses between roommates or sports teams.
|App||Fee||How it works||Best for|
|Billr||App costs $1.99||List costs, split shared items, set tax and tip amounts, show up to 16 people what they owe and send copies of the split by text or email.|
|Settle Up||App costs $1.99||Manage shared expenses with friends, track receipts and past bills and show who pays next.|
|Google Wallet||Free||Connect your debit card and tap up to five friends to split bills with. Add the total cost of the bill or individual amounts then send and receive money directly from the app.|
|Splitwise||Free||Create groups to track ongoing or one-off expenses. Shared expenses and outstanding payments are kept in one place where everyone in the group can see the amount they owe. Download Plates by Splitwise for a tool that’s tailored for use at restaurants and bars.|
|Easyshare||Free||Pay bills, rent and split expenses between housemates.|
|Splitr||App is free||Split bills between groups, request money and track when you’ve received payment.|
|Tab||Free||Take a picture of your receipt and tap your items to claim them. Tax and tip are calculated for you, allowing you to easily split bills between friends|
|Splid||Free for one group, $0.99 for two, $1.99 for unlimited||Enter all of your shared expenses and the app shows exactly how much everyone owes and to whom. Works in over 150 currencies and allows you to download summaries as PDF for offline use.|
|Tricount||Free||Anyone in the group can add expenses, bills and other costs and the app will calculate who owes what. It finds the most efficient way for everyone to pay what they owe, allows you to attach payment methods then mark your outstanding expenses as paid.|
What types of payments can I split?
Depending on which app you choose, you can split a number of different expenses:
- Rent payments
- Household expenses
- Restaurant or bar bills
- Ongoing group or team expenses
- Hotel bookings, taxis or other travel expenses
How to compare bill-splitting apps
There are a few different apps out there, so here’s what to keep in mind when comparing your options:
- What is it best for? Each app allows you to split bills, but some are designed for specific purposes. Consider whether you’ll be using it for restaurant bills, bar tabs, shared expenses between roommates or any other purpose.
- What features does it offer? With so many options available, you’ll want to think about what features they each offer. This could include things like integrated notifications, uneven bill-splitting, recurring expenses, tip, taxes and beyond.
- Who can you split payments with? Some apps require everyone involved in the payment to sign up to the app, while others can send money to and request payments from people even if they don’t have the app installed. Check what restrictions apply and find out how many people you’re allowed to split bills with.
- Can you make payments? Some of these apps allow you to send and receive payments directly through the app, which could be very convenient. If that’s the case, you might also want to look into how quickly payments are made.
- Are there fees? While many of these options are free, some of them require you to purchase the app or offer the option to unlock more features through in-app purchases. Keep an eye out for these fees and find out if there are any charges to send money within the app.
- Compatible devices. Make sure the app you have chosen can be downloaded on your smartphone — that is, either Android or iOS.
Are bill-splitting apps safe?
Generally, yes, but it’s best if you check the safety and security features of any bill-splitting app you sign up to. Some of them offer bank-level security when making payments, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure before you start using it. If an app also comes with a prepaid or debit card, you can check the product disclosure statement to see who is issuing the card and which company will be responsible if your money is lost.
For most standalone apps, you can usually find information regarding security on the provider’s website. This information may include where your information is stored and how secure it is and who to contact if there are security issues with your account.
How to sign up for a bill splitting app
The sign-up process will differ greatly between providers and whether or not you need to link your bank account. And with some apps, you might also need to confirm your identity using your driver’s license, passport or other state-issued ID. Generally speaking, you can download the app from your mobile phone’s app store and the sign-up process should be clear once you open the app.
Other ways to send payments between friends
If you’ve already figured out how to split the bill and you’re just looking to send money or get paid for a recent bill, you can try using these options:
- PayPal. Send or receive money to a mobile number or email address and link a credit or debit card to withdraw funds.
- Facebook Messenger. Send free money transfers by linking your debit card and clicking the dollar sign in the chat window with your intended recipient.
- Dwolla. Link your bank account and make free transfers if the amount is under $10 or pay 25 cents to send larger amounts.
- Google Pay. Link your debit card or bank account to send money to an email address or phone number for free.
- Zelle. If you have an account with Ally, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, U.S. Bank or Wells Fargo, you can send money to an email address or phone number through Zelle on your bank’s mobile app.
- Popmoney. If you have an account with a participating bank (Ally, TD, Fifth Third, Regions, U.S. Bank, Bank of America, Citi, PNC, SunTrust or Wells Fargo), you can send money for free when another user sends a request, or 95 cents otherwise.
- Cash app. Link an account or set up a customizable “Cash Card” debit card to send money to friends and family for free. It even integrates into Siri and iMessage.
- Venmo. Venmo lets you send money for free using your bank account or money you’ve received as a funding source. You can even request payments and split up bills manually when you make a purchase.
Splitting bills and other expenses with friends and family can be awkward, especially with larger groups or people you’re not as close with. Luckily, there are a number of apps that do the hard work for you by splitting up bills fairly and breaking down costs for everyone to see.
But with so many options out there, you’ll need to pick one that’s best for your situation. If the app you choose doesn’t allow you to send payments, consider a few other ways to send and receive money.
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