The best apps for splitting apartment expenses
Even if you have a tried-and-true method for divvying up the dinner bill with your roommates, the conversation can often get more complicated when a larger-than-usual electricity bill comes in the mail.
Once you’ve worked out an agreement on how to split rent or utilities between roommates, there are a few apps that can make the rest easier. Read on to see which of the best apps for roommates fits your lifestyle and roommate relationships.
Free on iOS and Android This ubiquitous app is probably the first one that comes to mind when it’s time to pay your friends back for most purchases. What makes Venmo one of the best apps for roommates is that the people you live with probably already have it, making it a convenient utilities- or rent-splitting app with less room for error or confusion over the interface.
Like any other Venmo expense, you’ll select the names of your roommates, input the amount you owe or they owe, and hit “Pay”or “Request.” It’s not a roommate bill calculator, so you’ll need to determine what everyone owes on your own—remember to double-check your math—but, this way, your apartment expenses and other personal Venmo expenses are all logged in one place.
Free on iOS and Android, with option to upgrade to Splitwise Pro for $2.99 This is a great option to help you figure out how to split utilities between roommates if you’re less inclined to do the bill-splitting math on your own. When you and your roommates sign up for Splitwise, you’ll create a private group for your place.
Once your roommates have been added, each of you is able to upload expenses to the app and decide how you want to split them: evenly, 100% from one person, or some other non-standard split. Essentially, this is a roommate bill calculator that takes the guesswork out of deciding who owes what. You’ll also be given the option to upload an image of a bill or receipt, for full transparency.
Founded in 2011, Splitwise helped split more than $1 billion in expenses in 2014 alone. The app is great for roommates in that it allows you to accumulate payments over time. That means if you paid for electricity, but one of your roommates covered the internet bill, you can upload and split each individual charge in your private group, and everyone can make one lump sum payment at the end of the month.
Splitwise will take care of figuring out how to split utilities with roommates by calculating the final amount you owe, and you can include any one-off charges like shared meals or cabs, too. When it comes time to pay up, Splitwise can link to your Venmo or PayPal account, so there’s no need to enter information for a card or bank account.
Splitwise is free on iOS and Android, with a premium option that allows for additional functionalities, like the ability to store hi-res receipt images, scan and itemize receipts, or convert bills to different currencies.
Free on iOS and Android A newer and lesser-known option than Venmo or Splitwise, Unbill is one of the best apps for roommates who need more help collecting and tracking their bills in one spot.
Once you sign up with Unbill, you’ll be able to search and add any companies that bill you regularly for apartment services like cable, internet, and so on. (If you can’t find the company on the app, request it, and they’ll work to get it added.)
There’s no more wondering how to split utilities between roommates with this app. Once the companies are connected to you via Unbill, the app will automatically track and split your bills any way you designate.
The only catch: If you opt in to Unbill’s autopay system, or opt to pay your bills through the app, it costs you $0.99 to use an eCheck. If you decide to pay using a debit or credit card, the app charges you either $0.99 or 2.49-2.99% of your payment, whichever is the greater amount. However, if one of your payments is late due to an error on Unbill’s part, they will eat the cost of the bill and any late fees. This roommate bill calculator app is available for free on iOS and Android.
Free on iOS and Android Often pitched as an expense app for group vacations, Splittr works just as well for day-to-day roommate expenses or as a rent-splitting app for each month. What makes this one of the best apps for roommates is that you never need to log in to use Splittr, it works offline, and it supports all currencies.
Like Splitwise, the app allows you to create private groups for different expense purposes, and upload expenses to each. You can determine how to split utilities with roommates in whatever way works best for you, upload receipt images, and store multiple expenses in one group.
The app does the calculations for you, so no matter who paid for what, Splittr will let you know the final amount you owe after reconciling every charge or payment request in the group. Plus, for the data nerd in your apartment, Splittr displays the statistics on how much money is going to different expense categories in your home—especially helpful if you wanted to track electricity usage between seasons, for example.
There is one catch: Unlike Splitwise, the app doesn’t integrate with payment methods at this time. So while Splittr acts as a roommate bill calculator and does the tracking for you, you’ll still need to settle up with your roommates using a separate app or in person. While none of these apps can take the tension out of a roommate standoff over who bought toilet paper last, they can help you make the actual payment process go more smoothly.
For the tougher talks, some money experts recommend sitting down early on for an honest conversation about how each roommate envisions food, utilities, and shared items will be split. From there, you can let one of these apps for roommates lead the way.