Facebook Messenger is making it a little easier to split your Sunday brunch tab with friends. And the company is likely hoping that a new addition to Messenger’s payments feature means that you will skip Venmo to do it. Starting today in the US, users on Android and desktop PC can send payments to and split payments between groups of people. Presumably the iPhone version of Messenger will add support for group payments very soon.
As with direct peer-to-peer payments, the group payments feature is free to use without hidden fees; all it takes is linking your account with a debit card.
You can send cash to (or request it from) everyone in the group chat or just certain participants. When requesting, you can either specify an amount from each person or just tell Messenger to split a total amount — with or without yourself included. Money is transferred to your bank account within five business days, perhaps not quite as quick as the reliable next-business-day deposits from Venmo. The group chat will include updates on who has paid, so you can shame friends who are tardy in paying their share.