These days, you have a lot of ways to choose from when splitting bills with friends. You can send money through Facebook Messenger, chip in for dinner mid-Skype chat or even pay your debt as an email attachment on Gmail. PayPal has launched another new feature that caters to group of friends and family, but this one focuses on making things easier when pooling money for group gifts or holiday trips. "Money Pools" is PayPal's answer to its 2017 Holiday Money Habits Study finding that most Americans get stressed out when holiday shopping. You can use it to keep track of everyone's contributions and ensure that, say, all your siblings have sent in their share for mom's Christmas gift.
You can personalize each money pool by setting a goal and a deadline, as well as typing in a description of what gift you're buying or what you're collecting money for. If you want to spruce it up even more, you can add a cover photo. And depending on what it's for, you can choose to make contributor names public or to keep them private.
You can access the feature by going to "Your Pools" on desktop or mobile. Once you're done setting one up, you can send your friends not-so-subtle reminders with a link to it via text, e-mail, Facebook or Twitter, which could save you the trouble of having to repeatedly ask them for their part. To be 100 percent sure, though, you can always check who's already chipped in through the pool's activity feed.
Most of the respondents in the company's holiday survey said they plan to shop from their mobile devices, and PayPal is likely hoping you'll use Money Pools if you go the phone shopping route. If you were going to use PayPal anyway, then it wouldn't hurt having easy access to friends' contributions to make sure you don't go overbudget or spend your own money when you don't need to.