This free bill-splitting app has made settling my shared expenses a breeze

 Homescreen heroes image for Splitwise app
Homescreen heroes image for Splitwise app

Is there a question more uncomfortable than, “How much do I owe you?” Whether you’re new to the bill-splitting game or have been going halves on pizzas with your pals since time immemorial, the task of recouping money you’re rightfully owed is never easy.

Thank the social gods, then, for Splitwise – my pick for this week’s edition of TechRadar’s new Homescreen Heroes column.

Endorsed by money wizards from The Financial Times, Business Insider and The New York Times – not to mention the millions of bill-splitters who already make use of the free-to-download app – Splitwise helps you keep track of expenses shared between friends, family, housemates and anyone else you’ve been (un)fortunate enough to foot the brunch bill for on a hungover Sunday morning.

Since being introduced to Splitwise earlier this year, I’ve used the app to split holiday expenses with friends, share utility bills with my housemates and easily divvy up the weekly pitch hire fee for our six-a-side soccer team.

To register an expense in the app – which is available on iOS and Android devices in seven different languages – simply set up a group for a particular expense (whether recurring or a one-off), enter the bill total (along with who owes what, if those figures aren’t equal), and the all-seeing Splitwise accountant will divvy up the cost between everyone involved.

Splitwise app interface
Splitwise app interface

Mercifully, the app will even send helpful ‘settle debt’ reminders at the end of the month to those who like to take their sweet time with debt repayments (no names mentioned). Or, if you need the money back ASAP and the offending party hasn’t yet paid up, you can manually trigger these reminders for yourself.

Of course, Splitwise can’t actually force members of your group to pay up – there’s no automatically-deployed loan shark, as much as we’d all like there to be sometimes – but the app, at the very least, works flawlessly as an expense tracker. It removes the risk of forgetfulness and serves as a master document for anything you’re owed or owe.

Splitwise comes into its own when expenses – on a group holiday, for instance – begin to stack up. The app ensures that the totals owed by and to each person account for all transactions. And if you subsequently pay someone for something, the debt share is shifted around all parties accordingly.

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If you and your friends are regular group spenders and can spare a collective $3 / £2.79 per month, you can also sign up to a more premium version of Splitwise – Splitwise Pro – that lets you track spending by category, store high-resolution receipts, and convert bills by exchange rate.

Presumably, this is how Splitwise, the company, makes money. But my friends and I have never once suffered by not having any of these pro-level features at our disposal, and I haven’t yet encountered an annoying ad on the free version of the app, either.

In the US, Splitwise is even better, as you can make payments directly from the app using PayPal and Venmo integrations. But this is an app that's worth having regardless of where you live in the world (there’s a reason we included Splitwise in our list of the best free Android apps of 2023, after all).