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WhatsApp + Splitwise = Expensify.cash (now open for early access)

David Barrett
David Barrett Expensify Team Posts: 27 Expensify Team

tl;dr - What if WhatsApp and Splitwise had a lovechild? It would be Expensify.cash! Sign in with your normal Expensify account to chat, split bills, send money requests to friends, and more.

Amazing progress has been made on our from-scratch, cross-platform (React Native) rewrite of the Expensify app. Over a hundred open source developers have contributed to make it what it is, and now we're happy to invite non-developers to check it out! Go to https://Expensify.cash or install the Expensify.Cash app (App Store / Play Store) to get early access to our chat-first re-imagination of payments.

Admittedly, what you'll find right now is more "chat" than "payments". But we think a strong chat foundation is critical because in our view, every payment is a conversation -- between you, and someone who owes you money. And over time we're going to expand this to support every form of payment at work and home. But for now, we're starting with the two simplest forms:

  • Request Money - This is the most basic, Venmo-style money request that we all know and love… with a twist. Most tools are built for "one off" payments: if I request $10 from you, and then you request $15 from me, those are treated as two entirely separate transactions. Expensify.cash is different: it's designed for people who are frequently requesting money from each other back and forth, so it's smart enough to recognize that your request "cancels out" mine, and now I only owe you $5. So in the basic case it works just like Venmo, but in the more complex case it's more like Splitwise, where we might take turns paying for each other, and then settle up at the end of the trip.
  • Split Bill - The example we had in mind for Expensify.cash was a group of friends traveling together -- think Burning Man, group vacations, volunteer campaigns, etc. We've all been cooped up at home and are probably fantasizing about getting some friends together to go do something amazing. You know many of the people in your group, but not everyone… and not all equally well. Everybody is buying supplies in a chaotic mess of preparation. In your group chat with your fellow travellers, just tap "Split Bill", enter how much you paid, check off everyone who should chip in, and we'll notify everyone accordingly. And because Expensify.cash is smart enough to combine debts and cancel them out, you'll always have a complete list of who you owe, who owes you, and exactly what for.

At least, that's the idea. It's still very early, and for now we only support settling up via Venmo and PayPal (which is a global solution, so that's a plus). But soon we'll have the ability to settle up entirely within the Expensify app, making a totally self-contained payments network.

In other news, have I mentioned we're launching a new payroll feature, built into the standard Expensify price? Just like invoicing and bill payment, our new payroll feature works exactly like everything else -- after all, a paycheck is little more than an expense report submitted twice a month (plus a bunch of tax junk on top of that). We're still getting the correct money transmission licensing in all 50 states, so we can only offer it in about 33 states right now. If the idea of managing all your employee expenses (corporate cards, reimbursements, and now payroll) with a single tool is your cup of tea, please let us know which states you operate in and we'll let you know when we can support you!

Next up: we have received almost one thousand applications to our Community Justice Grant Challenge! There were about 10x more applicants than we expected, so it's taken some time to qualify everything. With difficulty, we've narrowed it down to 50, from which we will pick 10 to get $25,000 in funding, 5 to get $50,000, and one to ultimately get a cool $100K. We'd love your help voting for the top options so we can direct Expensify.org's donor funds to the most impactful and inspirational campaigns -- stay tuned for details.

And saving the best for last: to help encourage vaccination amongst the most vulnerable populations, we are re-starting our SNAP reimbursement campaign (where in 2020 we reimbursed thousands of EBT cardholders $50 for a bag of groceries), and expanding it with another $50 payment to the first 3000 SNAP recipients who get the vaccine! Our thanks go out to all Expensify.org donors; we're putting your money to work making a safer world for everyone, especially kids under 12 who are currently ineligible for the vaccine.

So even as the skies and restaurants reopen, and the lucky among us can breathe freely with the protections of vaccines, let's remember that we're not yet out of the woods -- certainly not globally, and not even here in the US. There is a long road ahead, and we're going to need everyone's help to get through it.

We've only got this one world. Let's save it, together, for ourselves, and the people we love.

-david

Founder and CEO of Expensify

Twitter: @dbarrett

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