It's the one major drawback of a group dinner out: The check arrives, and everyone struggles to pay in a chaotic clash of cards, cash and IOUs.
But the newest version of an iPhone app from PayPal attempts to take the pain out of splitting the bill.
PayPal, an eBay company based in San Jose, Calif., lets registered users send money securely over the Internet.
Founded in 1998 (and acquired by eBay in 2002), it has more than 78 million active accounts in 19 currencies.
Its new app relies on technology from Bump Technologies, which created a way to share contact information by touching two phones together. The app uses the phone's sensors to "feel" the bump, the company said. The information swap is secure and happens instantaneously.
PayPal's new application can be downloaded for free from Apple's App Store. Once someone logs in with her credentials and identifies the recipient (via e-mail address), she can just bump her phone with a friend's to transfer money for concert tickets, a group dinner, a birthday present and more.
The "Split Check" feature factors in tip and tax, and then helps users divide and pay each other for the cost of a meal for up to 20 people.
"Today, you leave the house with three critical things: your phone, your wallet and your keys," Osama Bedier, PayPal's vice president of platform and emerging technology, said in a statement. "PayPal Send Money lets consumers access their wallets through their phones. Because with PayPal, the wallet lives in the cloud – the mobile phone is just one device customers can use to access it."
PayPal's new app is just one of about 100,000 applications available in Apple's App store.
Here are a few others:
If a fear of flying keeps you grounded, Virgin Atlantic has a new iPhone application just for you.
Launched in partnership with developer Mental Workout, the new application is based on (and named after) the airline's Flying Without Fear course, which the company says has a 98 percent success rate.
The application, available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, includes relaxation and fear therapy exercises, frequently asked questions and a video that explains a flight from start to finish.
It even features a "fear attack button" for emergencies, with breathing exercises and quick tips.
"Our first iPhone app will bring the benefits of our successful Flying Without Fear course to millions of people around the world who are now using mobile technology to make their lives better," Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Atlantic's president, said in a statement. "The app will put many travelers at ease and enable them to prepare for their first Virgin Atlantic flight."
At $4.99, the it's on the pricier side for iPhone applications. But as proof that the app is based on a sound program, Virgin Atlantic said its Flying Without Fear course recently helped Whoopi Goldberg overcome her fear of flying.
"The program works, I was a skeptic. I hadn't flown in 13 years but after doing their program, I understood that while my fear was real, there were many things I didn't know or had misinformation about, which they were able to clear up," the actress said in a statement. "So what happened? I now fly. It's that simple."