Good things come in big packages, like ordering a steer directly from the local farmer or pooling your neighborhood grocery shopping into one big Costco run. But figuring out who owes what can be a spreadsheet nightmare. Luckily, we’ve rounded up seven of our favorite apps to help you eliminate receipt hoarding forever.
If you need a new phone to put these apps on, we rounded up our favorite cheap phones here.
Updated May 2020: We refreshed this list and added more services, like Splitwise.
Splittr makes splitting bills super easy. You simply create the trip or event, then add individual expenses for that activity. From there, you can add the parties involved in that activity and how much each person contributed thus far. Then the app does its magic and figures out each person’s current balance, as well as who owes what (and to whom) at the end of the trip.
Splitwise is a favorite of the WIRED Gear team. It has a more attractive and user-friendly interface and a pro version that lets you track spending by category, store high-resolution receipts, and convert bills by exchange rate if you’re splitting expenses with people in other countries. Splitwise also makes an additional app called Plates by Splitwise that’s designed specifically for splitting restaurant (takeout) bills. One caveat: You can’t pay up inside the app—you’ve got to use real life money, or do that using another app … like Venmo!
Venmo is the way to go for things like paying a friend back for lunch, or paying rent or bills to a master tenant (or tech-savvy landlord). If your roommates owe you money for rent, they can either send you the money they owe through the app (free of charge if you use a debit card or connect your bank account), or you can send a charge for them to fulfill. You can complete the payment in the app, or do so by replying to a text message notification with a specific code. Venmo was acquired by PayPal, but the app experience is more friendly, social, and streamlined than PayPal’s app.
GroupMe is mostly a group chatting service, but it does have a feature called Split. This is great for funding a group event, or requesting compensation after the fact. In a GroupMe group, simply click the paperclip icon to the left of the message compose field, tap collect, and enter how much each person owes you. Folks pay via credit card (there’s a 3.5 percent charge plus 30 cents for each contributor), and you’re notified when everyone has ponied up. If someone doesn’t have the app, you can get and share a custom link for them to pay over the web.
Another option for splitting bills among a group is SettleUp. You can create a group and all its members will be able to see expenses and add to them. It works for travel groups, roommates, couples, and anyone else who needs a way to keep expenses and bills organized.
Square Cash and Google Pay
Another option for sending and receiving money between friends or contacts is Square Cash or Google Pay. Both services also let you send and receive money via email. With Square Cash, just link your debit card to your account, then enter the recipients email address, Cc email@example.com on the email, and enter the amount in the subject line. If you want to request money, it’s the same process, but you Cc firstname.lastname@example.org instead. It’s all done in the app. With Google Pay, you can send or receive money for free from a linked bank account, or send money with a 2.9 percent transaction fee with a debit or credit card. You can also tap the “Attach Money” icon in Gmail to send it via email.
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