Of all the first world problems out there, there’s one that’s universal – splitting the bill. Whether it’s sharing groceries with your roommates or a meal with a bunch of friends, things can easily get confusing. Sometimes there are just too many people paying for different things and sometimes, honestly, who wants to do math when you’re supposed to be having fun? But between the IOUs soon forgotten and the bills soon misplaced, someone always ends up broke. A simple solution are the numerous bill splitting apps on your mobile that attempt to make this awkward process a wee bit simpler – also, a lot less math for those who are numerically challenged. What’s not to love?
Splitwise Voted the best out there in this category, Splitwise simplifies the entire process and is great especially for those who are constantly sharing expenses on a monthly basis, like roommates or co-workers.
An option to settle group debts lets you figure out final payments, making life much simpler, and you can even upload a picture of the bill while creating an entry – doesn’t get more transparent than this. A ‘recent activity’ tab lets you review each entry and changes made, in case you want to double check. And of course, you can send email reminders to those forgetful ones when it is time.
Settle up A very basic app that is functional, at best, Settle Up works with the same premise. It lets you create a new group of people and add payment details – say for a dinner at a restaurant – and then key in who paid and who owes how much (by adjusting the ratios) to figure who owes what. If your friends are on the app as well, they’ll get notifications and can instantly pay up, if they have a PayPal account, or can later update payments made.
Tricount On Tricount, users can view a highly detailed balance sheet under the ‘balance’ tab, although how many of us want to go through the exact math behind each calculation is doubtful. Another advantage with Tricount is that a particular expense sheet can be shared via email, which means that not all members of each expense report has to download the app. In fact, this one doesn’t even need a login and password – a big plus point for those who hate signing up – and overall, definitely one of those apps that are useful when there’s a large number of people to tally with.
But despite the glut of bill splitting apps out there, there is still a void that is only slowly getting filled. In May this year, at the Disrupt NY Hackathon, a developer showcased an app called Split that would allow users to click a picture of the final bill and flick various items on it to various friends, thus ending the infamous “who paid for what” awkward conversation. Although Split is still a hack, and not yet a fully functioning app, it wont be long before it shows up on Playstore, to save friendships and the mathematically challenged. Another app that’s currently only in the US is Plates, created by the makers of Splitwise. Designed specifically to split restaurant checks, the app promises to help you split shared costs like appetisers and tax and tip, with upto 10 people. No more paying for the champagne when you’re on your third diet coke! Until then however, these other apps should keep you going.