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The History Of Splitting Bills

The History Of Splitting Bills

It’s rewind time! We all know about splitting bills during a group hangout today. But time to take a quick look-see as to how people handled udhaari back in the day.

Let the time travel begin:

1. Origin of the phrase ‘Going Dutch’

For those who aren’t familiar with the actual meaning of the phrase, ‘go Dutch’ or ‘Dutch treat’ and other similar phrases mean the informal agreement during participation in a paid activity where everybody covers their expenses rather than one person paying for the entire group.

It’s a restaurant etiquette most cultures follow, even today. But it originated initially as a derogatory phrase during the 17th-century Anglo-Dutch wars. The wars were over trade routes and political boundaries and the British use of the term ‘Dutch’ was to imply the negative connotation that the people from the Netherlands were said to be stingy.

2. History Of Barter System

Before money existed, and splitting bills was a thing, there was a creative way to avoid pending payments. It was known as the barter system. It was introduced by the Mesopotamia tribes and then adopted by the Phoenicians and the Babylonians. They bartered goods across oceans. This was a direct trade of goods and services ranging from tea and spices to even weapons.

But the barter system was a waste of time and effort as there was no common measure of value and it was difficult to find out a fixed ratio for exchanging goods and services.

3. Introduction Of Paper Money

Money in itself has no value and is supposed to be symbolic and representative of the value people hold to it. The first paper currency introduced in European governments was issued by colonial governments in North America.

Paper currencies once introduced were widely used by colonial governments. As shipments between European and American colonies took so long that the colonists ran out of coins (which was used as cash) when the operations expanded. And instead of going back to the barter system, they used IOUs that traded as currency.

The origin of paper currency traces back to the leather promissory notes used in China by the Han dynasty. The biggest challenge of issuing currency was counterfeit and eventually, a lot of techniques were developed to avoid that when printing banknotes.

4. Splitting Bills In The Present

With technology bringing in mobile payments and virtual currency, the possibilities are endless. When it comes to the future of transactions, digital is the way to go. There has been great importance of gaining control of your money, keeping it in your own hands. Hence, the concept of clearing bills and payments later is passe. The present time where we split bills is all about getting things done now!

The goDutch app is one such medium that makes this effortless by helping you split bills, track expenses and settle them via UPI, all in one place! We’ve come a long way from the bartering of goods, exchanging IOUs, and even the past phrase ‘going Dutch’ is deemed an insult. Today, it’s a good financial habit that helps one simply be mindful of their expenses today leading to being on top of their finances in the future.


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