Whether you’re headed on a ten-day vacation or trying to reconcile your group’s bar tab, splitting bills can be a pain. In the “old days,” everyone seemed to carry cash. When it was time to pay, random denominations of crumpled bills found their way onto the table. Now we do servers a favor and charge transactions to one card, figuring out the rest amongst ourselves later.
That’s where Splitwise comes in. Splitwise keeps a running tabs of expenditures between friends or family to help ensure everyone gets paid back.
I’ll take you through the Splitwise’s finest features and uses so you can decide if it might come in handy for you too.
What is Splitwise?
Founded in 2011, Splitwise is an app that helps users keep track of transactions and shared expenses. Users can log expenditures such as rent, utilities, travel purchases, and routine transactions. The interface is available on the web and in app form for both Android and iPhone.
Who is Splitwise for?
Splitwise can be useful in a variety of situations. Two of the more common uses are as an every day accounting tool and to track vacation spending. The platform enjoys especially strong support from millennial users. Millennials use Splitwise to supplement the offerings of payment apps like Venmo and Paypal. If those brands don’t sound familiar, don’t worry. You don’t have to be up-to-date with the latest app-based payment platforms to take advantage of what Splitwise has to offer. I recommend Splitwise for the following individuals:
- College students with one or more roommates
- Individuals living in households with multiple sources of income
- Routine travelers
- Social spenders who frequent restaurants and bars
Getting Started with Splitwise
Signing up with Splitwise begins with creating your profile. Due to the sensitive nature of transaction information, logging in with social media credentials is restricted. The remaining options allow you to either link your Gmail account or manually creating a profile. Once you’ve created a profile, groups are formed with friends or family. Select the “add more friends” link to create groups with current or prospective users.
How Splitwise Works
Now that you’ve created a profile and populated your group, the bill-splitting can begin. Transactions made for the benefit of some or all of the group members are entered into the group log. Each purchase can be attributed to whichever members benefit from the transaction. You can easily exclude anyone who was not a party to the purchase. Each transaction is given a unique description to document the charge.
You can enter transactions in virtually any currency. I personally used the app for a multi-country European trip involving three currencies. With help from the Splitwise app, each of us knew exactly what we owed in US dollars at the end of the trip.
You can also create multiple groups that can exist simultaneously. It’s not unusual for users to have an ongoing group in addition to their periodic vacation trackers.
When it comes time to pay, the balance tab highlights outstanding debts within the group. Upon completing a partial or full payment it appears on this screen. Any members who are a party of the transaction are sent notifications through the application.
At the end of a billing cycle or vacation, Splitwise generates a couple helpful accounting visuals. The first is a historic breakdown. Select “view group totals” you’ll get a breakdown detailing both totals for both recent and historic transactions. The second tool is a budgeter’s dream. Splitwise allows you to export the totals as a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet lays out the group spending with every detail available from the unique transaction.
Is Splitwise Really Free?
Splitwise is 100% free! The best part about their free service is that it’s rendered in the absence of obnoxious ads. Even more impressive, Splitwise offers complimentary bill splitting articles and survey data to their users.
Outstanding Value for a Free App. What’s better than free?
- Simple and Efficient Accounting. Splitwise does the math for you so you and your friends can settle up with one big payment, instead of a bunch of small ones.
- Currency Conversions. Traveling abroad? No problem. Splitwise can handle the currency conversion so you aren’t stuck doing the math.
No Integration with Payment Apps. Splitwise will reach a whole new level when users can track transactions and make payments in one place.
- No Photo Documentation. We’re picking nits here, but it would be nice if the app allowed users to scan receipts.
Is Splitwise Worth Your Time?
Splitwise might not be able to change your life on a daily basis, but it can actually change the way you manage bill sharing and that’s no small feat! After all, it’s a situation-specific app. For example, a married couple with a single income source might not benefit much from the informal accounting tool. However, many others will find Splitwise to be a useful tool when it comes time to split the check, rent or other shared expenses. In my view, Splitwise is an outstanding product for young adults who regularly partake in social spending. Whether it’s bar-hopping twice a week or dividing up household bills, Splitwise takes the headache out of IOUs.