Forget Separate Checks… Split Dining and Travel Expenses with Square Cash
This app is one of the easiest ways to pay people back
The idea of transferring money to friends via a smartphone app is new to me. This is a shame because my wallet was stolen in Venice last summer while traveling with friends. I could have used Square Cash to literally square up on restaurant checks and other expensive while waiting for new credit cards to be expressed over.
Square Cash is an established and popular app for transferring money between friends and family. It’s the same company that operates the Square payment system you see in so many cafes and stores these days. Upon testing the app and performing research for this post, I’ve read thousands of reviews from people raving about the app. They use it to transfer money to other parents for play date excursions, pay rent for college students, and divide up restaurant restaurant bills in lieu of the server running 10 different credit cards.
(I’ve never been a fan of splitting checks beyond two or three credit cards. And, there are many occasions where it’s simply too awkward or too much to ask of a server.)
The goal of this post is to showcase how Square Cash can benefit groups traveling together. Group travel—whether it’s girlfriend getaways, business trips, or extended families on the move—is a subject I literally last week wrote an article about for another major publication. Simply put, groups are on the move more so than ever. Coordinating group travel can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be thanks to apps like this.
How Square Cash Works
Download the Square Cash app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Market. It takes just minutes to create an account. I chose a “cashtag” that allows people to quickly send money to me and for other people to get paid for, basically, whatever.
(Wikipedia is one of the many organizations that have a cashtag ($Wikipedia) so that people can make donations on the fly.)
But what is cool is that you can also send cash to people who don’t have a Square Cash account. And, this cash can be sent through iMessage or Siri. If the person you’re sending cash to has a Square Cash account though, this also is quite easy.
If you set up Square Cash to enable your contacts, the app will recognize nearby friends who are ready and waiting to receive money, making transfers even easier. It’s almost like securely airdropping photos between computers.
Group Travel Scenarios
There are so many ways an app like this comes in handy when traveling with a group.
If taking a private group tour, which is something we often do, one person would pay the cost of the tour to reserve it. The others would need to transfer cash to cover their share.
Perhaps it’s a concert or a baseball game and you’d like to guarantee seats next to each other. Usually, that’s done when one person reserves the block and books them, versus relying on multiple people to quickly snag those seats before someone else does.
And, of course, there are restaurants and bar tabs. When groups are staying in the same hotel, it’s very easy for poolside drink orders and then some to accidentally be placed on another group member’s bill.
Or maybe your child wants to accompany someone in your group to a local museum. They’ve decided to leave right away and you don’t have any cash on you to send. Use the app to reimburse the responsible adult immediately. (By the way, this works brilliantly for play dates.)
Sending cash immediately prevents forgetting to make transfers later. And, it means you also never need exact change.
Good to Know
You must be present in the United States to use Square Cash so it will not work for overseas travel, unless you decide to transfer cash after returning home.
If you send more than $250 per week, Square Cash will ask you to verify your name, date of birth, and the last 4 digits of your SSN to increase the sending limit to $2,500 (in most states). The same verification requirements go for when you receive more than $1000 per week. Therefore, it pays to verify your account (literally).
Be sure that you are clear about fees. The good news is that personal Square Cash transfers are free (1-3 business days) unless you need the money to appear in an account instantly (if so, the fee for this is 1%).
Do you use cash apps when you travel?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Square, Inc. The opinions and text are all mine.