SpotMe, a handy little tool for sharing expenses in groups, is now a top 10 mobile app in the finance category and a featured app in Apple’s App Store Rewind 2011. Zornitza Stefanova, the CEO of SpotMe’s maker Boomerang Digital, describes the app as “a social messenger for payments.” What that means is that the app takes over the often uncomfortable job of having to ask your friends for the money they owe – it does that for you.
An early version of the app was launched this July, but the most recent update just arrived mid-December, bringing with it helpful new features like messaging and email summaries.
After installation, you can sign up for an account using Facebook and then add friends to a group by pulling their info from your phone’s address book or by typing in an email manually. It’s really fast to set up the bill you’re splitting, the money you lent, the rent, or any other expense you want to split with others. And speed, as we all know, is key when doing these sorts of things on the fly, lest you turn into the geek with your nose in your phone all night.
As new bills are added to the group, an automatic email goes out from SpotMe to those owing as a reminder.
Stefanova says the top use cases the company is seeing involve college students, bills split among friends, roommates, and the occasional IOU.
Although at present, the app only functions as a tracking tool for managing money owed, the company has something really interesting cooking: it’s planning to integrate a person-to-person (p2p) payment mechanism next year, sometime around the launch of its Android app.
That will then position SpotMe against other p2p payment apps, including PayPal, Venmo, ZipPay, Square, Dwolla, and others, which should be interesting. So many of today’s apps have started by addressing the technological hurdle of moving money digitally using your smartphone, but not the psychological hurdle that come from having to talk to friends about the money they owe you.
The core focus of the app, with its simple setup, email and push notifications, is to let the app do the dirty work of reminding friends about money they owe. Meanwhile, you can pretend that the money was the furthest thing from your mind. “Oh? You got an email about the dinner we split last week? I totally forgot!” (Sure you did).
We definitely needed an app for that. You can check out the newest version of SpotMe here on iTunes. (Sorry Android users. For now, the web app will have to do).