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Updated on Friday, December 11, 2020
We’ve all been there: The group decides to “evenly” split the dinner bill, and you’re stuck paying for someone else’s steak and margaritas even though you only had water and an appetizer. There are plenty of ways for you and your supper pals to send or request money using peer-to-peer payment apps such as Venmo or Apple Pay Cash, but few of these help you with the math.
We’ve rounded up the best apps for splitting bills, from rent to dinners out, so you only pay what you owe — resentment avoided, friendships saved. For each category, we give you our top pick, plus a runner-up or two.
For group dinners: Tab
Tab, free on iOS and Android, makes paying for dinner easy. Take a picture of an itemized receipt and select which items are yours. If your fellow diners have Tab, share a code with them so they can join the bill and select what they paid for, too. Shared that appetizer? Multiple people can select the same items. The tax and tip are calculated for you. Venmo is integrated into the app for easy payment, or you can record that you made a cash payment to settle your portion of the bill.
Plates by Splitwise (Free) — Splitwise (more on it in a minute) created Plates by Splitwise specifically for splitting the tab at group dinners. Drag items to an individual’s plate or split shared items among multiple people. The app splits the tip and tax and offers multiple tipping percentage options. It even has a “split the rest” feature that lets you save time if you only want to allocate a few dishes and split the remaining bill between the group. Unlike some other bill-splitting options, this app limits group splitting to 10 people.
For splitting the check: Splitwise
With Splitwise, free on iOS and Google Play, keep a running tab of who owes money without having to send over the cash right away. Settle requests at the end of the month — or anytime — with a PayPal or Venmo transfer. You can even bill an entire group, splitting costs evenly among its members. The app sends reminders to all parties when it’s time to pay up.
Settle Up ($1.99) — Even though this app, available on iOS and Android, isn’t free, it keeps a running tab of money owed in multiple currencies, a nice perk for frequent overseas travelers. It supports 20 different languages and works offline, which may come in handy if wi-fi is spotty in exotic locales.
For group trips: Splittr
Splittr is designed to ease the stress of splitting costs during group vacations. The app is free on iOS and Android; you don’t need to be registered to use it, although you will need to download it. Add expenses as you go and Splittr tells you who should pay next — maybe it’s your turn to pick up the dinner tab — and keeps track of how much each person owes and to whom. Manage multiple groups at once, including your roommates back home and your group trip to Dubai. All major currencies are covered and expenses can be split unevenly, if needed.
TriCount (Free) — Although this app, available on iOS and Android, has many of the same features as Splittr, you don’t need to download TriCount to participate. Once one person creates a Tricount account, they can share the link with friends for everyone to see group expenses. Friends who have the link can add their own expenses or see your updates. At the end of the day or week, TriCount lets you know what everyone owes to settle the tab.
Trip Splitter ($1.99) — Trip Splitter isn’t free, but it offers some nice perks similar apps do not: Add an unlimited number of participants and multiple trips; send an email with a detailed list of spending to all participants; and view your spending by geography, in case you want to see where you were when you paid for someone’s dinner bill.
For roommates: Zently
Last, but not least, when it comes to splitting bills is sharing costs with someone who lives under your same roof. Keep in touch with your landlord, pay rent and split costs with roommates using Zently, a free app for iOS and Android. It can connect to your credit or debit card and find bills you need to split with roommates. Round up your roomies’ money and send it to the landlord free with an electronic transfer, assuming everyone is using the app. If so, you can also use Zently to submit and track repair requests.