In this blog I go into the reasons why Airbnb abandoned this feature as well as why it is necessary.

Skip to current alternatives if you are looking for a solution to split your next Airbnb reservation. Otherwise, here is the rise and fall of the Airbnb split payment feature.

The history of the Airbnb split payment feature.

If you were an Airbnb customer back in 2018, you might have noticed the feature to split payments with your friends or family when you were planning a group trip.

It all started when Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky made a post on Twitter asking everyone what they would like to see.

Turns out, splitting a reservation was one of the most highly requested features that year.

When the split payment feature was ready, the trip organizer would send a special link to everyone invited for them to pay their portion through.

When the trip organizer requests to book a listing, the reservation was marked as “awaiting payment.”

The organizer’s portion was taken out immediately at the checkout and everybody else would be sent a link to pay their fair share.

When every paid their share, the reservation was booked.

The pains of group payments in travel.

A graph showing why we need a group splitting feature.
44% of travelers are owed over $1000+ after their trips.

There are great benefits to guests being able to split payments.

Mainly that no one wants to pay upfront for a massive road trip and see their bank account take a hit.

This has a huge financial burden on the trip organizer or whoever pays upfront.

Fronting the bill is only the beginning of the burden also. 

Chasing up and nudging to get paid back can be awkward if some of your friends are forgetful. 

We all know we have a Venmo request we’ve been ignored for weeks now.

A split payments feature was super logical however when it was released, it didn’t take long for the complaints to roll in.

Why hosts hated it.

While guests may have loved this. Many hosts did not.

The main issue was that the guests had 72 hours to take advantage of the Split payments feature.

If someone didn’t pay by the end of the 72 hours, the reservation for the rentals was canceled.

This means the host’s calendar was blocked out for 3 days.

This amount of time would reduce the potential amount of money a host could make in a month.

There were also a lot of qualifications that hosts had to adhere to in order to list split payment listings.

You can read more about these qualifications in Techcrunch’s article about this feature some years ago.

Sadly Airbnb was the first accommodation provider, and last, to offer a split payments feature.

The current alternatives to splitting Airbnb payments.

Method 1 – Venmo/Cashapp

1. Trip organizers would pay the Airbnb rental upfront. Taking the whole cost of the reservation. This is not going to be cheap.

2. Here comes the stressful part. Send out multiple Venmo/Cashapp requests to friends.

3. Lastly, nudging them to accept the request so they can pay their fair share.

Even though this is a solution, this is no longer the only way to split Airbnb payments.

Here is how everyone can pay their share whilst paying only their share.

Method 2 – YSplit

How to split airbnb payments using YSplit.
What splitting Airbnb on YSplit looks like

Our app YSplit was founded with the purpose of solving this exact problem.

We didn’t start with splitting Airbnb reservations but with the birth of our latest feature, the YSplit card, you can auto-split any online payment.

YSplit is an app that was built for roommates to auto-split utility bills.

We quickly noticed however that roommates split more than just utility bills and so we gave them a card to split everything else.

Roommates started using their YSplit cards to auto-split any 1-time purchase with a group of friends. From dining, take-out, groceries to you guessed it, Airbnb reservations.

Here are some examples of the YSplit card in action:

Let me walk you through how to get set-up, so you are ready for your next road trip to Yellowstone or The Grand Canyon.

You’ll be able to see YSplit in action when I used the card to auto-split my Airbnb and more with my girlfriend over Valentine’s day.

How to split an Airbnb payment on YSplit

  1. Download YSplit on either the Appstore or Playstore. You can do so below.
  2. Create your account. You don’t have to link a billing account unless you have other utility bills you want to pay and auto-split, of course.
  3. Navigate to the card tab. This is where you will be able to generate your own YSplit virtual card.
  4. Start your YSplit premium free trial to create your own virtual card.
  5. Tap pay now below your card to create a YSplit session. This allows you to invite whomever you want to participate in the transaction.
  6. Everyone will now receive an invite, and you’ll be able to see everyone join in real-time. After this point, your whole party will have added their bank info to pay their share. (Pay by Google/Apple pay coming soon)

Once you create your session it will look a like this.

Splitting airbnb payments in action.
YSplit card session

Pro tip 🤓: When you create your session, you can set the session’s duration to 1 time for a quick purchase, a date range; in our case, it was the length of your trip, or indefinitely. See below for an example.

How YSplit works. Set a duration on how long you want the card session to last.

So every time you use the card during your trip, everyone can be charged for random 1-time payments you need to make the same as we did. You don’t have to create a new session every time.

Splitting with your virtual card comes with some unique features that make splitting complete, including customizing the split, 1% cashback, and automatic refund handling.

Customizable split

Split airbnb payments unequally if you want to.
Editing the split before you pay

If someone wants to pay more or less, this is 100% possible. Here’s how.

Before you pay, tap the “edit the split” button and enter the amounts you want everyone to pay, either by percentage or exact amount.

Now when the card is charged, everyone is charged accordingly.

1% Cashback on card payments

Get cashback for splitting airbnb payments.
Withdraw you cash-back to make future bills cheaper.

Part of the YSplit premium package is the ability to get cashback on group payments and not just on your share. You’ll receive 1% cashback from the total bill.

Imagine that? You paid only your share, but because you used your YSplit card, you received 1% cashback.

Splitting Airbnb in Action

My girlfriend and I are currently long-distance. She lives in Sunnyvale, California, and I in the big apple.

For Valentine’s day, I crossed the country to stay with her in the best Airbnb I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying in.

We wanted to splash out a little bit as it was also her Birthday at the same time (RIP my bank account).

Below is an image of us splitting the Airbnb through YSplit.

The result of splitting airbnb payments. Here is the receipt.

Processing Bank account transactions on YSplit have no fees.

I regret not linking mine at the time… please don’t judge.

As you can see here, there is no disruption on the merchant’s end. The hosts received 1 payment, and we both got to pay separately.

You might be thinking, “Could you split anything else on the trip?” and you would be correct.

Every shared expense from takeout to ski lifts to wine was auto-split on my YSplit card.

Group payments are back.

Give the YSplit a shot, and we promise you won’t look back.

You don’t need to front the Airbnb reservation cost anymore.

We’ve been working super hard over the past 2 years to build something that groups will love, so you don’t have to worry about paying upfront or chasing to get paid back on time.

If you have any questions on how to get set-up on YSplit, you can reach out to me personally at [email protected], and I will be happy to help you get set-up.

Are you an Airbnb host?

If you are a host, let your guests know they can use YSplit in the future to make their experience with you that much easier in the future.

Author

Co-founder/CPO of YSplit.

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