Venmo has started rolling out a new “Venmo Groups” feature that aims to make it easier to organize and share common expenses with others. The company says the feature will let people track, split, and manage group expenses.
Basically, the company is appealing to anyone who has had to deal with spreadsheets or turned to other apps like Splitwise or SettleUp to manage group expenses like dinner with your friends or that big group trip to Disney World. With this new groups feature, users can do it all right in Venmo, and it’s something that probably should’ve been added a long time ago, considering the app’s sort-of social media nature.
Like other standalone expense-sharing apps, Groups automatically calculates what each member owes as they pay up. Anyone can add expenses, see who’s on the hook for what, and settle up, as no one person is in charge of the group.
Groups are persistent, so once you’ve made one, new expenses can be tracked over time. If you have a friend group that goes out a lot, for example, you can keep a running tally — that way, everyone knows if Seth or Angelica or whoever really did buy last time or not. Venmo communications director Erin Mackey told The Verge in an email that anyone adding an expense can assign specific portions to each group member, and each of those people can change the amount they owe.
There’s also a “View hidden groups” button. Mackey said the feature lets users hide a group if they’re not active in it, but it also seems like a handy way to keep from accidentally spoiling a surprise party and definitely not intended to let you be sneaky about, um, other activities.
The feature will only be available for some people on Tuesday, but Venmo says it will hit everyone else over the next few weeks. It doesn’t seem as fully-featured as something like SettleUp, which lets you designate members as defaults for sharing expenses, calculates exchange rates, and automatically transfers debts so things can be paid in fewer transactions.
Still, Venmo groups seems pretty convenient if you’re a big Venmo user and are annoyed when you have to turn to another app to see if Seth still owes you for that keg y’all “went in on” five months ago.
Update November 14th, 2023: Added details provided by Venmo and added a comparison to SettleUp.