Travel Apps

Is Splitwise the Best Bill Splitting App for Travelers? [Review]

Updated on:  
February 9, 2022
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Raeesha Ikram
Raeesha Ikram
Contributor
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Should you be using Splitwise to manage your finances and bills amongst your friends? Keep reading to find out its great and not so great features and whether its worth the download or not.

We all love group trips. The idea of traveling with friends, exploring interesting sights, trying new food, and partying all night long is sure to get you excited. But, when it comes to social travel, you need to figure two things right. One is planning. You have to include everyone going on the trip and plan everything to the dot. With a social travel planner like Pilot, you no longer have to worry about it. 

Next is budgeting. When you travel in groups, everything from food to taxi fares tends to be shared expenses. It’s all fun and games until you sit down to split costs and realize that you have to deal with a heap of transactions.

The good news is there are apps to sort this mess too! Splitwise is a popular app that helps you keep track of your shared expenses and split bills easily. Read our review to find out more!

splitwise logo
 Image courtesy: Splitwise

What is Splitwise?

Splitwise is an app that helps you track shared expenses and split bills when traveling with a group of people. Founded in 2011 by Ryan Laughlin, Marshall Weir, and Jonathan Bittner, it was initially geared toward roommates and couples who share household expenses. 

Soon, it became a big hit among travelers because it was an easier and less awkward way of divvying trip expenses. There will be so many expenses you have to bear on the go, and keeping track of who owes who and who owes what is not easy. With apps like Splitwise, you no longer have to share cold glances, break into arguments, or empty your wallet on behalf of your friends. 

There is both a web and mobile version to use. The Splitwise app is available for both Android and iOS devices.

Does Splitwise Charge a Fee?

Splitwise offers a free version that has most of its core features. However, for those who rely on the app frequently, its Pro version has some interesting additions in store. It costs $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year.

splitwise core features preview

 

How Does Splitwise Work?

After creating an account with Splitwise, create a “Group” by adding all your friends and their contact numbers. This way, your friends are constantly updated while being able to add expenses from their end. 

Whenever you want to add an expense, click “Add bill” and enter all the required information like the amount, people who owe money, date, etc., along with a picture if necessary. Click “Save” after adding each bill/expense you encounter during the trip.

At the end of the trip, you need to settle and clear the debts, yeah? Click “Settle Up,” and you will see the amount you owe each travel mate separately. You can either pay by cash and record it as a “cash payment” or pay using PayPal or Venmo. 

Splitwise login expenses and bills info
Image courtesy: Splitwise

What Are Some Features of Splitwise?

  1. Choose how to split bills/expenses among members – equally, by percentage, or by specific amounts 
  2. Select from 100+ currencies when recording expenses. It comes in handy for travelers as you can record amounts using the local currency of the country or currency specified in the bills (as long as the particular currency is supported by the app).
  3. Payment integration with PayPal and Venmo
  4. “Simplify debts,” which helps groups resolve debt triangles by minimizing the number of transactions
  5. Keep track of the total balance instead of individual expenses

The ad-free Pro version includes currency conversion, receipt scanning, charts and graphs, and some other features. 

How Does Splitwise Make Money?

The bill splitting app generates revenue from the ads on its free version and subscription fees of its Pro version. 

What We Like About Splitwise

  • Super convenient 

The main advantage is that Splitwise takes a lot of hassle off your shoulders. You don’t have to remind your friends about the money they owe you or be reminded of what you owe them, as the app will remind everyone of the dues. You also don’t have to maintain spreadsheets and spend time doing calculations. The app got the basics right! 

  • Debt simplification

When you travel together, everyone starts spending on behalf of everyone at some point, and we think it can be sorted and cleared at the end. Without an app to manage shared expenses, it can easily become a complicated mess. Splitwise tracks every amount lent and borrowed, balancing out the dues, so there are only a few transactions you have to clear at the end. 

  • Rich in features 

Splitwise has some handy features that help travelers manage their shared expenses effectively. The ability to create different groups, record expenses in different currencies, categorize expenses, and simplify debts is important when you travel with friends or family. We like how this app is very detailed, although it comes with a bit of complexity. 

Splitwise expenses and debt feature
Image courtesy: Splitwise

What We Don’t Like About Splitwise

  • Lack of in-app payment facility 

There’s no way to pay your friends directly via the app. If you have PayPal or Venmo installed, you will be directed to the app so you can make the payment. If your country doesn’t support either, it’s just cash. Also, the user has to record whenever a debt is settled via cash or another mode of payment. It could be better if there’s an in-app payment feature that would help you pay directly and record payments automatically.

  • May not get everyone on board

If you have old-school friends who refuse to stray away from manual methods, Splitwise may not be the best choice. One, everyone involved in the trip has to sign up and check emails frequently for updates. Excessive emails, in some cases, can also be annoying. Second, it takes some time for users to familiarize themselves with the app. 

Is Splitwise Worth It?

Yes! Unless you have already found a better app, we think you should definitely consider this. The free version offers all the main features, although including the currency conversion feature would have been even better. An app to manage shared expenses is a must for people who travel in groups as it minimizes the chance for disputes and eases stress. If you want to learn about other apps that are useful to travelers, read here.

Friends lending money
Photo by Ayaneshu Bhardwaj on Unsplash

Pilot

Getting ready to travel? 

Then, you need to have a great travel planning app at your disposal too. Like Splitwise, Pilot is a travel planner app designed for social travelers like you. It has amazing features that help you plan, organize, and store all details related to your trip. Plan, joke, and argue on trip plans with your friends, wherever you are, as much as you like!

Originally published on:  
August 29, 2021

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