Venmo: Creating a native check-splitting feature


Venmo remains fairly popular,
 ranking as no. 2 among Fintechs in the app store. It works 
well as a trustworthy tool for 
many users to send and request
 money with ease and efficiency. This conceptual project explores the solution of a check-splitting feature.


Lead UX/UI Designer


January 2022 [3 weeks]


Sketches, wireframes, prototypes, usability testing, final iterations

The problem

Math can be tedious and at times, difficult. It’s stress-inducing task for most and an unavoidable situation when transferring funds. Designing an efficient way to divide up group expenses, to avoid tedious math and potential miscalculations, is a challenge worth solving to further optimize a feature that’s nearly perfect.

The goal

To create a native check-splitting feature in Venmo where the user who foots the bill shares an interactive, itemized receipt with their friends. The friends select their items from the interactive, itemized receipt and pay back the friend who foot the bill.


There are several money transferring apps out there who offer similar services as Venmo, so extensive research was only going to be helpful in understanding the real problem.

The research phase entailed a competitive analysis, 1-on-1 interviews, and surveys with 19 participants to better empathize with users’ honest experience with various finance apps.

From pain points to dreaming up ideals, these methods yielded data that led my team and I to an important trend-- the work-around required before and after the app is where the pain points reside, such as calculating shared expenses and following up with incomplete payment requests.

Back to top

Meet Eugene. He is the persona that represents all the data points to keep the design in the proper lane.

A 27 year old considerate consumer, Eugene is a social butterfly who gladly frequents in footing the bill when sharing a meal with friends. Some of his friends carry cash, and some are sipping through their fourth cocktail by the time the bill arrives at their table.

The considerate friend that he is, Eugene throws his card on top of the bill so that he and his friends can all carry on in their social endeavors. So, how might we help Eugene?

Ideation: Prioritizing form and function

They are better together— they bring out the best in each other.

 With that in mind, my goal was to strike a healthy balance between form and function.

Design: Sketches and wireframes

As the design lead of this project, it was vital for me to remain in the shoes of Eugene in order to achieve a data-driven design.

It all starts with a few sketches on the classic pen and paper. Then, I transitioned to a digital platform to better emulate what was envisioned.

Component Evolution: Why it matters

Testing: Key observations

The initial CTA designs include words such as ”Send Bill” and “Pay Now”. Our users found these CTA buttons anxiety-inducing because:

1. The term “Bill” is stressful as is

2. The flow wasn’t quite aligned with the culture of the
 app nor the etiquette of transferring and requesting
funds from other people.

To remove these words is not the proper solution— it’s all about “how” they are used in the greater scheme of the app’s context.


The tax and Tip Auto-Calculations weren’t always “auto” in the early stages. The first prototype gave our users the option to add, but that felt strange for our users— it was something they don’t usually stop and think about.

However, tip does require a “stop and think” moment— I found that guiding the bill recipients with the most common tip suggestion options, along with an “other” option for any differing percentages, would reduce any potentially awkward conversations and encourage the bill recipient to contribute fairly.

In other words, customs and etiquette around money differs from person to person. Anxiety was still present in seemingly harmless design choices in the early stages. 
Achieving a balance between automatization and autonomy revealed itself to be vital.

Humbling Moment: Mitigating the learning curve

We also found that the bill sharer’s flow dropped its momentum when our users landed on the “Claim Items” interface. Our users stated that claiming an item before the bill is shared with friends seemed efficient, convenient, and helpful. But with each passing iteration, the data couldn’t be more loud and clear-- users were left confused on this interface, no matter how many dynamic iterations have been made. 

The learnability curve was too steep because, well, old habits die hard. 100% of our users resorted to their first instinct when they were met with this new interface in each iterated phase-- and that was to divvy up the items on the bill and assign it to individuals, which is the complete opposite of what this new feature was meant to do.

The latter iterations incorporate these valuable insights.
 Here’s a closer look at the new designs.

Scan and share receipt with ease.

New feature, familiar methods.

Feedback encourages the happy path.

Same principles apply for the bill-recipient.

Learnings: Bill-footers are the MVPs

With many customs and etiquette around money, diving back into research to gather data will get us closer to hitting the mark and paving the path for success-- especially for our beloved bill-footers who are often covering on behalf of their friends.

Next steps: brainstorming methods for dividing one or more items between 2+ users will be a fun solution to explore as many of our users shared this specific desire throughout the interview process.

Although this feature isn't live (yet!) it is exciting to see Fintech develop quickly at the drop of a hat and certainly, knock out these desirable features in the near future.