The money apps that help you split the bill with mates


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Mates and money can be an oil and water mix, but technology is coming to the rescue with new ways to split bills that won't wreck the relationship.

It's that time of year when we head out with mates to share a few drinks, grab a meal or maybe head to the theatre.

The venue won't split the bill, so in a festive gesture of goodwill, you pay the tab, while everyone else agrees to "shoot you a transfer" sometime soon.

kttipay bill splitting app

One in four are owed money by mates

We all know how that ends.

Some friends simply don't follow through, leaving you out of pocket and fed up with having to chase down the money.

It turns out that freeloading friends are not uncommon.

Around $350 billion is transferred between friends and family in Australia each year, and one in four of us won't get our money back.

Now technology is coming to the rescue.

A number of apps are available to split bills and hopefully preserve friendships.

Four apps to help you split the bill

Beem, the brainchild of EFTPOS, lets users track, tally, split, request and settle group expenses.

In a similar vein, Splitwise lets you and your friends monitor who owes what, and who has paid up.

The Settle Up app works along similar lines, being specifically designed to manage group expenses.

All three apps are free though Splitwise has a 'Pro' version priced at $4.99 per month.

Another option, for diners at least, is to look for restaurants that offer Payo. It lets you settle a bill on your phone by scanning the QR code on your table so everyone can be assigned an amount based on what they had.

The catch with each of these options is that they don't solve the problem of who pays when the bill arrives. The tab inevitably lands in one person's lap, leaving them to deal with the chain draggers in a bid to square up the debt.

New app sorts the freeloaders

The KttiPay app, a newcomer to the world of bill splitting, takes a different approach.

It lets users pre-pay directly into the app before everyone heads out for a get-together.

Users create separate 'Ktties' for different purposes. You can, for instance, set up one Ktti for an end-of-year dinner with workmates, and another for a hen's weekend.

Group members pay directly into the app via their digital wallet - Apple Pay or Google Pay.

From there, KttiPay issues digital KttiPay Visa debit cards that are linked directly to each Ktti, which group participants can use to pay for group-related expenses.

Any excess funds are equally redistributed back to the Ktti members. It's all very transparent with participants able to view and track expenses after the event to see exactly what the money has been spent on.

How to split a bill politely

By flipping bill splitting so that payment is made upfront, KttiPay eliminates the need to chase people up to pay you back.

No more awkward text messages. No more freeloaders.

KttiPay CEO and founder Iain Salteri explains that the old system of paying money into a shared kitty worked well for our parents and grandparents, and the app works along similar lines albeit with a digital spin.

As Salteri points out, "At the end of an event, the last thing anyone wants to talk about is how to split the bill."

Some bill splitting problems can't be solved by an app

While KttiPay may sort divvying up a bill, it won't change human nature.

Shared experiences involving shared bills can be fertile ground for distrust and a sense of resentment that we've been swindled by our mates.

There will always be that one person who grumbles about only having one slice of pizza while everyone else ate two, or the non-drinker who sipped on juice all evening when the rest of the gang soaked up jugs of sangria like a collective sponge.

The trick is not to get hung up on the exact ratio of who got what.

With long-term friendships in particular, it can pay to assume that the ledger will balance itself out over time.

If you can maintain that perspective, it's possible to head out and share good times without the bill leaving a bad taste in your mouth.

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A former Chartered Accountant, Nicola Field has been a regular contributor to Money for 20 years, and writes on personal finance issues for some of Australia's largest financial institutions. She is the author of Investing in Your Child's Future and Baby or Bust, and has collaborated with Paul Clitheroe on a variety of projects including radio scripts, newspaper columns, and several books.