Bill-Splitting Apps That Will Help Keep Your Relationships Balanced

In today's world, people hardly ever carry cash. And at this point, it's not really a personal choice; a lot of places are card-only, especially restaurants. So when it's time to go out to dinner with your friends or go to happy hour with your co-workers, it can sometimes be a hassle to split the bill. This can be especially hard if the restaurant has a no-split policy or it's a group so small or so large that you feel foolish asking your server to split it.


When you're the one footing the bill, whether out of generosity or because it's your turn to do so, it can make you anxious. You can save money by being a mindful shopper or earn a little more by investing in the stock market, but that extra cash can quickly disappear if people forget to pay back what they owe you. You want to be on top of getting everyone's fair share back to you, but you also don't want to nag. Luckily, there are a lot of handy apps to help customers in this cashless, fast-paced world where friends just want to split things fairly without all the drama.


The first bill-splitting app that might come up is Splitwise, and that's for a reason. The app is pretty user-friendly and completely free unless you choose to splurge on the pro version. According to the U.S. News & World Report, the app fills the role of splitting one bill amongst several people. Just like most of the apps on this list, all of the people you're splitting with have to have an account on Splitwise. The app allows users to pay the original bill with PayPal or Venmo and records what part of the bill was paid and by whom. It also tracks someone's balance, so if they don't pay at the time of the bill, their part is plainly shown until they take care of it, either gradually or in one hit.


The Balance reports that Splitwise is their top pick on their list of best bill-splitting apps because of its "helpful tools" and "user-friendly interface," also noting the benefit of its group creation feature. However, as a lot of this might sound confusing, the app may be overwhelming for people who might just want to pay their part of the bill and be done with it. But according to NerdWallet, Splitwise is a great option for group traveling. One person can fully cover an expense like the hotel or day tour, and the rest of the group can pay for their parts equally. Plus, Splitwise does the math for you, so you can pay all of what you owe in one go.


If you're looking for a bill-splitting app specifically for living expenses or other expenses for you and a roommate, Acasa is a great option. Startups of London reports that roommates can split apartment bills and ongoing expenses on the app. 


According to Acasa's website, this "household management" app streamlines all outgoing payments related to your rental and can also even help with setting up utilities in the first place. That is immensely useful for people who are busy and don't want to deal with figuring out why their gas isn't hooked up or how to set up their first electric bill. Geekflare explains that Acasa is great for roommates because of how easy it makes dealing with the hassle of living costs. All of these bills are split up evenly and the transparency between friends living together is sure to stop any expense-related drama from occurring. 


One app that is very meal-based is Tab. The Balance ranked it as the second-best bill-splitting app for dinners because of its "seamless Venmo integration." And unlike other apps, Tab allows you to upload receipts without having to pay extra for the app; it's all free. Users can customize their different split bills, which is extra-helpful when you have multiple diners and special events to attend. According to U.S. News & World Report, Tab is great for large groups for this reason. It cuts out the hassle of a server having to split the bill themselves, and instead allows members of the party to pick what they had and send in their part via Venmo, or pay by cash.


Geekflare points out that this is the app that's best for groups of people going out to dinner because it provides real-time access to the uploaded picture of the receipt. 


Similar to Splitwise, Billr splits bills and calculates the tip for you. The Muse writes that Billr is specifically great for dinner amongst friends or restaurants in general. This one is not free, but it's incredibly useful, splitting bills evenly and keeping track of exactly what people ordered. And while doing that, you can also split shared things like desserts, bottles of wine, or appetizers. The only limitation is that everyone has to have the app to participate.


According to The Week, after each food item is allocated to whoever ate it, every person in your party can either pay individually on one phone or one person can foot the whole bill. But because you're using Billr, that person doesn't have to worry about not getting paid back. The person who paid the whole thing can send individual reminders to each person in the party until the bill is paid.

Settle Up

Next up is Settle Up. The U.S. News & World Report writes that this is a good option for friends who are traveling together or share living expenses, kind of like Acasa. There isn't a limit to how many friends you can add to an expense on Settle Up. This app is free with a choice to go premium for a small monthly or yearly bill. There's also a lot of transparency, as everyone in your group can see who has and hasn't paid for something. Settle Up is particularly great for sharing expenses on things that might be hard to split. This app allows you to share receipts when asking for parts of the bill, which helps if there are any doubts about a bill or how much someone is asking for. However, the receipt feature is only in the paid version.


Geekflare reports that Settle Up allows for different international currencies to deal with too. The Balance ranked Settle Up as the runner up to their "Best Overall" pick because it handles "simple and complex payment scenarios" and gives real-time exchange rates. The downsides, though, are the ads in the free version and the premium-only features.


Our last top pick for a bill-splitting app is Venmo. You might be wondering why any of these other apps are needed when Venmo is so widespread, popular, and easy to use. If you already have Venmo and you like sticking with what you know, then it's definitely a great choice. You can connect your bank account or debit card to the app and send payments back and forth between friends and even vendors. This is a great option if you have a steadfast bestie whom you go out to dinner with often, or a partner that loves to come home with goodies and you want to pay her back. As The Muse explains, Venmo is great because you can also remind friends to complete the payment request.


However, Venmo is not the best option for large groups as you have to do all of the math yourself. And even though Venmo promises "fast, safe" payments, the popular app has a lot of security flaws. As Wired reported in 2021, the default setting of the app is "public," so it's best to change that setting to private if you want to avoid scams. Plus, you have to be very conscious to not leave a Venmo balance for too long without withdrawing, because it's not FDIC-insured and your money can disappear in a security breach or app glitch (via CNBC).