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PhonePe’s ‘Split Expenses’ – Streamlining Group Transactions with Ease

Sampurna Mitra|3 min read|01 December, 2023

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Picture this: It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon, and you’re sitting with a group of friends, enjoying a delightful brunch. The food is scrumptious, the company is fantastic, and the day couldn’t be better. But then, it happens the dreaded bill-splitting moment! It’s like a comedy of errors, with everyone pulling out their calculators, trying to recall what they ordered, who shared cabs, and enduring a series of awkward moments.

This intriguing challenge sparked our curiosity, motivating us to explore the nuances of group payments. This exploration led us on the course to find a complete solution. Our primary objective was to unravel the complexities individuals encounter when dealing with group expenses, navigate through diverse scenarios, and build a seamless and efficient solution for the streamlined management of shared group payments.

Understanding users: the basis of Split Expenses

Our journey began with the curiosity to understand group payment dynamics. After gathering initial insights, we started engaging in extensive user research. This involved conducting thorough interviews, administering detailed surveys, and immersing ourselves in the narratives of friends, gaining profound insights into their experiences. Our mission was clear: to go beyond scratching the surface and delve deep into the psyche of our prospective users, gaining an intimate understanding of their pain points concerning group payments.

Building a seamless expense-splitting experience

Our mission to create a balanced experience for splitting expenses began with rounds of whiteboarding and wireframes, with each iteration further crystallizing the structure and flow, backed by a continuous feedback loop. We aimed for simplicity and elegance to create an intuitive user experience.

Collaboration emerged as the cornerstone of our success as designers, engineers, and product managers seamlessly joined forces. Our focal points included simplifying group expense management, elevating user convenience, fostering transparency, reducing payment friction, promoting group participation, and adapting to diverse scenarios.

The engineers skillfully brought our designs to life, while product managers played a pivotal role in ensuring alignment with our broader strategy. Throughout this journey, effective communication remained central, fostering a shared vision and a profound sense of unity among the team.

Redefining simplicity, our Split Expenses solution offers a trifecta of unique solutions:

  • First and foremost, we provide effortless expense splitting, ensuring accuracy and ease in dividing costs. Tracking expenses becomes a breeze, allowing users to stay on top of their financial commitments effortlessly. 
  • What sets us apart is our innovative Chat First solution, which maintains context during expense discussions, fostering clear communication. Additionally, our platform caters to both individual preferences and group dynamics, allowing users the flexibility to settle balances either people-wise or group-wise. 
  • With the ability to split, track, and pay all in one place, our solution is designed for added goodness for those familiar with similar platforms, while providing a comprehensive and intuitive expense management experience

Optimising user experience

Our primary aim was to facilitate effortless payment splitting within the user’s context. To achieve this, we found the following crucial journeys relevant to splitting expenses:

  • People can split a payment immediately after making it, directly from the payment confirmation screen.
  • They can also split a previous payment with friends from their payment history
  • A new expense can be added after creating a new group, as well as to an existing group of friends through chat

Furthermore, when users access PhonePe to make payments to individuals, they can conveniently find their current balances right upfront, based on their group activities. This approach empowers users to effortlessly track and settle their expenses.

Turning vision into reality

User testing played a pivotal role in enhancing the Split Expenses feature as we collaborated with real users to gain invaluable insights. Usability testing sessions provided a glimpse into how users engaged with the feature in real-world scenarios, uncovering nuances we might have otherwise missed. User feedback underscored the need for a more intuitive expense-splitting process, leading us to streamline the initial user experience of adding an expense.

We also refined the experience to offer clear historical records and insights, allowing users to effortlessly revisit and analyze past group expenses.

In summary, multiple rounds of feedback not only validated our hypothesis but also revealed nuanced user behaviors. This iterative process allowed us to fine-tune Split Expenses, creating a solution that seamlessly caters to the diverse needs and preferences of our users.

Growing with users: the journey continues…

Split Expenses was launched in May 2023 and while the initial user adoption phase was exhilarating, it was just the beginning! We eagerly welcomed user feedback, recognizing its vital role in shaping the solution. 

We adopted an iterative approach that forms the cornerstone of our product development philosophy. We remained committed to an ongoing journey of improvement, with each iteration propelling us closer to our goal of crafting a well-rounded group expense solution.

As we reflect on our journey, it’s evident that Split Expenses is leaving a significant impact on how people manage group payments. We are committed to working for emerging payment needs while elevating the experience, and implementing integrations that will firmly establish Split Expenses as the definitive solution for simplifying shared expenses and group payments!

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