For whatever reason, I’ve owed money to a lot of friends lately. Part of it is probably the arrival of wedding season: A bachelor weekend mountain rental for one future groom, a funny group wedding gift for another couple. Then there’s that time I turned up cashless at Dollar Taco Night and had to set a reminder on my phone to pay my buddy Evan back for spotting me (I ate a lot of tacos). Come to think of it, my roommate still owes me for his half of the gas bill last month.
I’m not alone. Around the world, we’ve reportedly loaned each other a staggering $51 billion, according to a study conducted by PayPal. Today, PayPal is launching a new feature aimed at making it easier to remind each other about those unpaid debts without things getting weird.
PayPal.Me is a new, more effortless way to request money via PayPal using a short, customizable URL. Need your coworkers to pay you back for the cab you all shared from the office that happy hour the other night? Just send them a group text including your PayPal.Me URL: For instance, paypal.me/johndoe. The link will then redirect to a simple mobile interface that lets them do exactly what the URL suggests.
Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve been able to effortlessly send money to each other using our phones (or other smart devices, for that matter). Indeed, Square launched “cashtags,” which are custom usernames associated with payment accounts, about a year ago. Facebook now lets users send money to friends and loved ones from directly within its Messenger app. More and more, services like Venmo and other peer-to-peer payment apps are being used by everyday, non-geek users who, not unlike Rihanna in her already-classic hit song of the summer, are really hoping you guys have their money.
But this is PayPal. It’s a name that has been practically synonymous with sending money over the Internet since the service’s launch in 1998. And while this isn’t the first time PayPal has allowed users to send money to one another in more or less a single click, the simple interface and easy-to-text URL format remove just a little bit of extra friction from the process, which can go a long way when you’re trying to get that cash.