By Martine Powers
Talking with friends about money is awkward.
There's always that moment at the end of an otherwise lovely dinner when the check arrives ("Sorry, we don't split bills!"), everyone throws down cash, and somehow the table is $15 short. Cue accusatory looks. Usually, the most weak-willed member of the group - rarely the one who underpaid - ends up footing the remainder.
Now there's help: Splitwise, the app that serves as an objective third-party arbiter and doesn't mind prodding friends to fork over the appropriate cash.
The app can help you sort out who owes what for an immediate pay-up - the brunch bill, for example - or keep a running tab of expenses for a group like your housemates. If someone spots you for an expense, input an IOU: The app will document that your buddy is owed a return beer next time you hang out.
In my experience, Splitwise proves most useful when divvying up a lot of costs in a small period of time, such as a long weekend vacation with friends. If you're abroad, the app allows users to toggle down between currencies. It's available for Android and the iPhone, and since everything is uploaded to the cloud, the balance can be checked on a computer, so any member of the group can keep track.
Most important, if your pal fails to even-up on his IOU, Splitwise can send an e-mail alert reminding him of the debt.
Passive-aggressive? Of course.