‘So Your Share Of The Bill Will Be…’

It’s the moment the server has been dreading. Everyone in the group wants to pay for their part of the bill, but using their own payment method. So the server has to process multiple cards, as well as collect cash, all the while smiling politely while the group tries to work out what £237 divided by nine is, and whether 10% represents a decent tip.

(We won’t mention the other conversations they probably also hear about, such as why those that didn’t order the bread and olives should pay for it and whether those driving should pay the same amount as those that have knocked back several bottles of wine.)

Thankfully, Facebook may have the answer. The social media Goliath has just added a new ‘group payment’ function which we thought looked pretty cool. As well as sending payments to other group members, you can also request payments from the group right within your chat.

Here’s how it works.

The ‘group payer’ enters the amount they’re requesting from each person in the group (or the total sum to be divided evenly through the group) and then hits the “Request” button to send it out to the group conversation. Each person then makes a payment.

Interestingly a message will also appear in the group chat to show who has paid. This could cut out one of those other embarrassing conversations that happens at the end of group meals, ie, finding out who hasn’t paid yet!

Facebook is pleased to say that the service is free to use and does not require a password.

Payments is an area of Facebook’s business that hasn’t received much focus over the years, despite the social network’s obvious potential to collect and store payment data about its sizable user base.

But payments is an area that all the other social networks are looking at very closely. WhatsApp (owned by Facebook) is targeting India, its biggest market, for a possible move into online payments. Why India? Because a fifth of its total user base (a whopping 200 million monthly users) live there.

Now for the small print. It’s only available on Android and desktop versions and it will only support Visa or Mastercard debit cards for now. Oh, and it’s only available in the US. Apart from all that, we think it could make servers’ lives everywhere a lot less stressful.

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