We are excited to announce the launch of Plates by Splitwise. Plates is a beautiful, lightning-fast, free iPhone app that calculates who owes what after a group lunch or dinner.
The question of how to split a restaurant check has haunted society for generations. How many drinks did you have? Who shared those nachos? How much do I owe? Some people will want to pay for solely what they ate and drank, while others just want to split the bill equally to avoid talking about money and wrestling with mental math.
Plates navigates between these two camps and allows you to come to a fair solution quickly, so you can continue on with your awesome night out! The key breakthrough we’ve had with Plates is that the app allows you to itemize only the important differences between what each diner enjoyed, such as who drank that bottle of wine or who got the fancy shmancy dessert. This makes it super fast to calculate, because you don’t have to remember who ordered every last item.
A Splitwise account is not required to use Plates, but is very useful if after discovering that your buddy owes $12 towards the dinner bill, he discovers that he left his wallet at home. Plates is integrated with core Splitwise, so adding a Splitwise IOU is super fast.
Splitwise has always offered great tools for keeping track of bills with groups (apartments, trips, couples), keeping a “running total” of who owes who, and helping people settle up. However, until Plates, we’ve never had the perfect tool for handling complex dinner bills. We’re really psyched to be able to offer something for this specific yet common use case.
The way the integration with core Splitwise works is a quite open-ended at the moment, and could definitely still be improved. After you create a bill on Plates, you can share the bill via email or SMS. This generates a unique landing page for your bill which you can share with friends. From there, an individual share can be added as a Splitwise IOU, or the whole bill can be saved to Splitwise (with a link back to the landing page included).
If you add an IOU with a specific person, things work very quickly. However, if you save the whole bill, we also do not assume any particular pattern of owing, because of the potential confusion over how much each person chipped in at the restaurant. Right now, clicking “Save to Splitwise” grabs the total, and links the expense back to the unique Plates page for that dinner.
Plates was developed by the talented Splitwise intern Liz Neu. Caleb, Ryan, and Jon pitched in as well. Many many friends contributed feedback – thank you!
In the future, we’re looking forward to porting Plates to Android, and making the Splitwise integration even tighter as we get more feedback from you about how it should work. If you have feedback about Plates or its Splitwise integration, feel free to put them in the comments here or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.