New settle up screen

Introducing Settle Up With Splitwise And Venmo

We’re excited to announce a payments integration you’ve been clamoring for: Splitwise and Venmo. As of today, iPhone users in the US will be able to directly settle up Splitwise debts using Venmo, as well as cash or PayPal.

New settle up screen
New settle up screen

Our goal has always been to include great, diverse payment options within Splitwise. Venmo was popularly requested in our user-fueled suggestion forums, and the folks at Venmo have provided a great new API and iPhone SDK to open their platform to us; it only seemed natural to use these developments as impetus to execute the often-requested integration.

Using Venmo within the Splitwise app works the same way as using Paypal. When you hit ‘Settle Up’, Venmo will be an option, joining the ‘Record a cash payment’ and ‘Pay with PayPal’ buttons.

Select settle up amount
Select settle up amount

Tapping the ‘Venmo’ button will take you to a Splitwise screen asking you to enter the settlement amount, which defaults to your current total balance.

Hitting ‘Next’ will take you to the Venmo iPhone app (where you can confirm everything, from the amount being paid/charged to the destination Venmo account). When the transaction is complete, it will take you right back to the Splitwise app, with the payment logged by Splitwise as well, and your balance updated.

We’re looking forward to bringing a Venmo integration to our web and Android platforms as well – we just don’t want to hold the iPhone release, which was the easiest to implement. Also note that settling up with Venmo will only appear as an option if you already have the Venmo app installed on your iPhone, since it uses the Venmo app to process the payment. If you don’t already use Venmo from your iPhone, your settle up screen will stay the same.

Confirm all details of payment/charge in Venmo
Confirm all details in Venmo

We enjoyed working with the folks at Venmo to bring this integration about, and we can’t wait to hear what you think of it!

Published by

Zoe Chaves

Product Manager at Splitwise.

32 thoughts on “Introducing Settle Up With Splitwise And Venmo”

    1. Hey Sahil,

      It’s definitely on the road map! Our latest Android release does a lot towards feature parity but we know we still have a ways to go.

      Cheers, Zoe

    2. There are more Android phones in the world than iphones, and that margin continues to widen on a daily basis. Why do so many developers continue to develop for the iphone first? Is it really that much easier to develop for, or is it that developers tend to focus on learning iOS development rather than Android?

      1. Hi Luke,

        It’s a really good question. Not speaking as a real engineer here, but let me give you my sense from watching the Splitwise team work and the decisions we’ve had to make as a team.

        1. iPhone apps are faster and easier to develop at a high level of polish, in part because of the uniformity of the platform (just a few devices, just a few OSs) and in part because of the quality of the tools and libraries provided by Apple. Developers like to develop for iPhone first because they want to see if their app is well received when it’s looking its best, before spending the large amount of work to get it up to a high polish level on Android and supporting all those devices. This is probably the most important reason.
        2. Because of the difficulty of overcoming bad reviews in an App store, not reaching that level of polish hurts. It’s often not advantageous to launch on Android until you have time to test on the most popular Android phones because of hate from people who are encountering device-specific bugs. This increases the penalty and danger for launching an Android app before you’re ready. Splitwise launched an Android app in 2012 that was inferior to our iPhone app, and had bugs that were extremely hard to find on some phones (our current app, rewritten from the ground up, has finally fixed these nasty old bugs as far as we can tell). This hurt our ratings in 2012 and is still hurting them (our last 400 ratings have a 4.7 star average, but we only have a 4.2 average globally at the moment). We felt we had no choice because Splitwise really works best when all roommates can at least see and participate at least at some basic level. Similarly, when adding new features, it’s often faster to try stuff out on iPhone where we can see if the feature is worth polishing on Android (such as Venmo).
        3. iPhone was first – more developers have learned it. Good Android developers are harder to find and more rare in the US at the moment. Within our team, Marshall had moderate Android experience but Caleb and Marshall both know iPhone inside and out and Ryan knew some too.
        4. Most developers I’ve met in the US use Apple laptops, and most product/UX people have iPhones, because they respect the work Apple has put into polish the whole system. They are designing for themselves. I actually think the newest versions of Android are ahead in UX, but that’s not the way the majority of the US dev culture perceives things at the moment in my experience.
        5. Native Android development has gotten much better, but my sense from others is that it used to be pretty difficult. The “user experience” of developing for iPhone is very strong, in part because of the high quality of the tools. When Splitwise is developing for Android, I hear Ryan, Caleb and Marshall complaining almost daily about the quality of the Android simulator, the slow code compile speed, and the amount of time spent configuring the environment. This stuff makes working in Android a drag.
        6. iPhone users are richer, and more likely to spend money on apps. Especially for games/advertising-based apps, the audience is often more valuable even though it is smaller in theory.
        7. Apple does a decent job promoting new apps in the store – I would argue, a better job than Google. Perhaps this is just because there are more good apps to feature, which is circular (but also self-reinforcing). I think being featured by Apple feels much more achievable to entrepreneurs or devs who will often know a successful friend that was featured – which is ironic, since Google is actually slightly more transparent about how to get featured.

        While things are getting better for Android devs with time, and the community is getting more used to the tool set, the fragmentation issue is still quite real and not improving much or getting worse. This will continue making releasing for Android a secondary priority for many companies for a long time.

        Don’t get me wrong – there are some serious natural advantages for developing first on Android, and if we see diminished fragmentation or better tools I really do hope we start seeing more Android-first development.

        There are already good reasons to start on Android first:
        0. More devices, more users, every day – you’re sure right about that!
        1. Android apps are easy to fix quickly – the app store review process is a factor 10 faster for non-famous developers, making it much easier to iterate quickly.
        2. Android gives developers much more control over background tasks, and ability to take over more of the phones user experience (notification tray, drawing over other apps like Facebook Home), etc. There are some use cases, designs, and features that need to be Android only, or work much better on Android and those are being developed Android first already!
        3. No marketplace restrictions on things replacing basic functionality, or limits on non-Apple payment systems, preventing Bitcoin wallets from existing, etc.
        4. 3rd party distribution is possible and hypothetically reasonably easy. It’s as easy as an email and a check box in the user settings. No need for TestFlight etc for beta testers.
        5. You can respond to critics in the app store – an awesome way for developers to learn from user feedback, and support users who are just not finding something or are having a bug they need fixed. Very helpful.

        Android is in theory great for “lean” / iteration focused development, and I hope we see more Android-first development in time. But for start-ups with limited budgets where the clock is always ticking, and app stores that feature new apps based on that polish level, “speed-to-polish” is often the most important decision criteria.

        I hope this helps!
        Jon

  1. Just chiming in as also wishing the Android version had Venmo integration… Paypal is awful, no way am I using that mess. All of my housemates and myself have Android phones and would use this is it had Venmo integration, but it doesn’t, so…

    1. Hi Ken,

      Thanks for writing. Yes, we do plan to add Venmo integration to Android in the next few months – I use Android myself. As a workaround for now, you can just make the Venmo payment and then add it in to Splitwise as well. Many folks do this for cash, BoA transfers, etc.

      We really appreciate your patience! We never meant for it to take this long, but it takes a lot of time to maintain apps for all three platforms and two payment systems, as well as adding new improvements / keeping good performance.

      Cheers,
      Jon

      1. Hi Luke,

        Sorry for the slow reply! Same story as with Square Cash – depends on how many users are using it/requesting it, the availability of the public API, and how the API works. Google Wallet is not really there from either the API or the popularity side, so we’ll see how things shake out.

        All the best,
        Jon

    1. Hey Kyle,

      It’s not on the short term road map but it’s definitely still a goal. Sorry I can’t be more specific and for any inconvenience!

      Zoe
      Splitwise

      1. Maybe it *ought* to be on the short-term road map? Us Android users are feeling pretty much un-loved by Splitwise, and there are a lot of us, I think?

  2. I’m sorry to hear you feel that way, Ken.

    We’ve actually been focusing on Android a lot these past few months. We’ll be shipping offline mode for Android and multiple payers for Android within a month. Both these features are more oft-requested and core than the Venmo integration. It’s actually kinda funny — very few iPhone user have ever used the Venmo feature — it’s way more common for folks to ‘pay each other back’ by just picking up the next bar tab, utility bill, etc. We still plan to complete the integration on all platforms eventually, but there have just been more pressing things to do for Android and we’re a tiny team (3 engineers).

    I hope this helps and thanks again for your patience.

  3. I have a Splitwise account that I created in India, but I have recently moved to the US. I do not see the Paypal and Venmo options on the Settle Up screen in my mobile app, and I only see the Paypal option on my web account (probably because my account was set up first in India?). Is there a way I can fix this?

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  5. Have you considered TransferWise.com support as well. I use Splitwise all the time to manage my debts with friends in multiple currencies. Would be cool to be able to just hit Settle and have everything go to their currency of choice via an online system. Maybe even allow a user to pick the currency they want and their destination and send the settle up request. Love your software btw.

    1. Hi Madhava,

      We’ve definitely heard of Transferwise. We’d consider an integration if it becomes popularly requested by users (same with Square Cash, Google Wallet etc). I think it hasn’t bubbled to the top yet because most people use Splitwise with folks they live near (housemates, significant other, friend you go to dinner with often) so most peoples’ Splitwise friends are folks who use the same currency as them.

      Cheers, Zoe

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