Polls / March 24, 2015

If you pay for a friend’s dinner, how long does it usually take them to pay you back?

Most respondents to the eZonomics online poll say it usually takes a few days for a friend to pay them back if they have paid the bill at dinner.

I’ll go you halves
You’ve enjoyed a meal out with a big group of friends. One person picks up the tab, with the others around the table vowing to pay them back.
After all, it can be cumbersome to make multiple card payments or find the correct change in cash.
The bill splitting stress can be time-shifted, however, if others forget to repay and the person who footed the bill is left out of pocket or faced with the prospect of chasing around for the money.
It’s not only group dinners where the dynamic applies. It might be shared gifts, group holidays or other moments of financial collaboration.

New ways to pay
A small share – just 13% – in this poll say that friends pay them back immediately.
However, new ways to pay are increasing the speed and ease of making payments, so this share may rise.
Mobile banking, for example, makes transferring funds easier to do on the spot. Use of mobile payment apps and mobile wallets is anticipated to pick up.
The M-Pesa text message-based mobile wallet system had been adopted by 14 million people in Kenya by 2011 – a way to pay without relying on a bank branch that has been catching on around the world.

Wipe out forgetfulness
Some of us may have friends who take several weeks to repay us, or even forget to do so.
The eZonomics story When reminders can make you rich details the damage forgetfulness can do to our finances. Reminders, such as text messages or recurring calendar notes, can keep savings goals front of mind.
Nudge co-author Cass Sunstein cites reminders as some of the most important nudges.
The same idea can be applied to gently reminding friends that they owe you money.

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eZonomics team
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