Splitting the Bill, Transferring Cash Getting (a Little) Easier

Splitting the Bill, Transferring Cash Getting (a Little) Easier

Gregory Han
Feb 25, 2012

Hang out with friends of the iPod generation and you'll notice hardly anyone carries cash, a trend most noticeable while dining together. The bill arrives and everyone whips out their credit card (and usually their tip app). What we usually like to do is designate a "point person" for payment; everyone else pays them their due amount (and usually a little more for the hassle). And now, since everyone has smartphones, we're doing it with instant money transfers via apps...

The New York Times reports about this migration to cashless instant exchange with, Why It's So Hard to Transfer Cash to Your Friends:

"...at least 100,000 so far, according to the company -- are willing to give up $2.75 on every $100 to avoid this particular hassle is a sure sign that people desperately want an easy way to make electronic payments to other individuals.

And at long last, banks have finally taken notice. While they have given companies like PayPal a decadelong head start, nearly all of the big institutions offer some sort of person-to-person service, and three of the biggest -- Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo -- have joined up to create their own back-end system for processing the money."

In an era where many of us already make instant payments electronically via websites+credit cards or with services like PayPal, the option to use smart devices and micropayment apps seems a natural evolution towards a paperless economy...at least at the dinner table and amongst friends.

Right now one of the major services available is for Chase bank customers, a person-to-person payment app: Chase Person-to-Person QuickPay. Payment is sent via recipient's email or phone number, and only requires one of you has a Chase account, making small payments convenient. You'll need an iOS, Android or Blackberry device (boo, no Windows Phone app yet).

Many of us already do these type of exchanges online at our computer. These type of apps (or devices like Square) simply bring the convenience of payment to our mobile devices. But the question will be how many of us will adopt what can be sometimes an insecure platform, while also being tapped for a 2-3% fee per exchange. For our friends, the convenience of eliminating the headaches (and sometimes argument) of whom owes what makes the small fee worth it.

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