Ah, the good old splitting the bill debate. Who pays? How will it be split? What about the tip? Those five minutes at the end of a meal with a group are the most dreaded. And don’t even get started on the confusion that ensues when you have to give everyone back the correct change!
At Que, we’re convinced that this has been the primary motivation behind the rise of payment apps such as Paytm, as well as bill-splitting apps like Splitwise. After all, if we can use technology to organise our lives, we can definitely use it to keep track of all those IOUs. As is the case with all forms of technology disruption, new rules of etiquette have to be laid down. Follow these tips for a hassle-free night out with friends.
Pre-empt Any Awkwardness
Regardless of whether you’re using technology to split the bill, set the ground rules. Everyone at the table should consider how the bill will be settled. Are you going to be splitting it equally, or is everyone paying only for what they ate and drank? Is one person going to pick up the entire tab, and then have people electronically send across their share?
Round Up the Bill
The bill has arrived and you’ve used the calculator on your smartphone to calculate everyone’s share down to the last paisa. Despite the fact technology allows you to transfer the exact amount – even Rs 782.50 – don’t. Etiquette dictates that you round of the amount to the nearest 10, because being that specific can sometimes come across as being a little petty or cheap. For only a few rupees more you could potentially save face, especially if you’re with people who don’t know you very well personally. And, remember, not everything has to be split. If it’s a small amount, just pick it up entirely and hope that your friend picks up a similar amount the next time.
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If someone has agreed to pick up the bill so that everyone can send money across later, don’t wait until later to pay him or her back. Just pull out your phone and send them the money right away. It’s only a few taps of the button. Why wait until later and let it become awkward in case it slips your mind and you forget to pay this person back? In any case, it won’t be rude to use your phone in company since nobody really makes too much conversation while the bill is being settled anyway.
Human Interaction Still Counts
Many people still find that communicating via technology can be cold and distant. Imagine then that such a person gets a notification from Splitwise (or any other bill-splitting app) stating that you demand payment. It’s best to prevent any bad blood by sending a personal text or email explaining what the payment is for and just being nice in general. Sometimes a simple: “Hey, could you please settle your tab for last night’s dinner? I’ve sent you a notification via the app. It was really nice doing this, can’t wait to do it again :)” goes a very long way towards addressing their uneasiness with technology.
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