New SMS features

BillMonk’s SMS interface has gotten a revamp! This update contains a bunch of new features that work together to make the SMS interface a lot more useful.

  • Dynamic groups
    SMS commands that take groups (like “victim” and “shared bill”) will now let you specify the list of participants explicitly. Instead of setting up a group on the website with a name like “LunchMoney,” you can specify a list of people like “joe,jon,bob.” For each person, we’ll search the names and contact info of all your friends — so for example, “joe” could refer to, as long as you don’t have any other friends with “joe” as a name or email address. Social groups are always changing, and this feature helps accommodate that fact. Of course, you can still use static groups if that works for you.
  • Smart victim choosing
    We already have a victim feature that will tell you who should pick up the next tab. Right now it works by seeing who owes the most within a group of friends. That works alright, but it turns out we can give you a better answer if we know the amount of the bill you are paying. So now you can optionally tell the “victim” command the amount of the bill, and we’ll give you an even better answer for who should pay that bill. You can read more about the details of victim choosing in the FAQ.
  • New ‘choose’ command
    This is a new command that combines the power of Smart Victim Choosing and Dynamic Groups. In a single command, you can say:
    If you SMS this to BillMonk, we’ll choose the best victim and record that they paid a $25.31 bill. Then we’ll SMS you back a message that says who should pay. It’s one easy step for victim choosing and recording a shared bill — perfect for lunch outings when you don’t know who should pay!

All of this is documented on the newly redesigned Mobile Phone page


14 Responses to “New SMS features”

  1. Ben Bernard Says:

    w00t! I’ve been waiting for smart victims for a while! GOOOOoooooOOO BillMonk!


  2. Andreas Andersson Says:


    Eager to try out this new feature I entered our lunch just now. The reply wasn’t what I expected “Andreas Andersson (you) recorded the shared bill…”. I expected it to be something like “Got shared bill. Billmong choose joe as the payer”.

    Back at the office the bill is infact entered correctly, with a picked payer and all. I just wich we would get that back in the sms/mail.

    (btw, I enter bills using gmail mobile client on my sony ericssson w880i)

  3. Josh Haberman (BillMonk) Says:

    Hi Andreas, thanks for the report!

    As you may know, we send different versions of our notifications based on whether we are sending to a phone contact (shorter and more to the point) or an email contact (longer and more detailed). The problem you reported was an oversight on our part, where we didn’t include the payer information if we were sending to an email contact. I fixed the problem this morning — please let us know if you see any other problems!

  4. Andreas Andersson Says:

    Today it worked great!


  5. Dan Says:

    Hmm., whatever happened to drawing lots?


  6. Yaz Okulu Says:

    does anyone knows if there is any other information about this subject in other languages?

  7. david Says:

    The sms feature seems to be down. I can’t even get my phone registered – I never get the confirmation text from billmonk. I have tried on 2 different phones. I also am unable to log bills via the wap site on my blackberry. These seems like a pretty important feature to get working, no?

    What gives?

  8. sms Says:

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  9. Donald O'Hare Says:

    Another good post. I put in a plug for your blog at mine. Anyway, I am sure most people forget the point you are discussing.

  10. Jaime Mcginnis Says:

    Good site. I got a lot of good data. I’ve been keeping an eye on this stuff for a while. It’s fascinating how it keeps shifting, yet some of the core elements don’t change. Have you seen much change since Google made their most recent purchase in the arena?

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