Need an internet coffee can for monies among friends.
August 9, 2011 2:17 PM   Subscribe

We'd like to pool our money so we can throw awesome parties more regularly.

Some friends and I recently had a (coed) bachelor party in Las Vegas. Even in this expensive city, with some connections and the costs distributed over 20+ people we managed some pretty sweet VIP treatment in several rather nice places. It was fun. The only good time I've had in Vegas, in fact. We're hooked. We'd like to pool our money so we can throw awesome parties more regularly. And we need to do it in a way that commits us to this project, where the money can't (easily) be dipped into; like grabbing a $20 out of a coffee can to fetch the odd pack of Marlboros. (If a person doesn't attend, their money will not be used. We trust each other; if only one person manages, and can finally withdraw from, the fund, that's OK.)

We need a convenient way to contribute to a collective fund that'll be periodically tapped for such events. It should be easy to contribute online -- automatically is preferable, but not essential -- and it should be free or with minimal fees.

We've considered:
- A bank's savings account, but we all have different banks.
- A dedicated savings account, like ING Direct, but it'd still be tied to a single user. I'm guessing checks would have to be written to that person, deposited, transferred... not convenient.
- PayPal. But they'd take almost 3%, which is kind of silly considering its utility as an online coffee can for us. (That'd be $48 out of $1,600.)
- Kickstarter, but its fee is 5% ($80/$1,600).

Are there any services suited to this? Or things we might not have thought of?
posted by evil holiday magic to Work & Money (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
SmartyPig might actually be a great place for this - one person would "own" the account, but it's relatively easy for outsiders to make deposits into an account. And it has a pretty good rate, and there isn't a redemption fee.

I'm not sure about the "automatic" part - you can certainly link bank accounts into the account, and automatically take money out, but I'm not sure if there is a limit for how many linked accounts you can have. Definitely worth investigating though.
posted by CharlieSue at 2:24 PM on August 9, 2011

PayPal takes nothing for personal transactions.
posted by toomuchpete at 2:28 PM on August 9, 2011

Can you use Venmo? You can 'charge' people on a monthly basis and if they 'trust' you money can be automatically taken without them even confirming. They're not currently charging any fees and you can tie your account to a credit card or bank account. You can also easily transfer to an external account as necessary.

Seems ideal in this case.
posted by jourman2 at 2:29 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here's the help doc on their 'trust' feature if you're interested.
posted by jourman2 at 2:32 PM on August 9, 2011

If none of these other situations work out for whatever reasons, most banks -- or at least all of them that I've had recently -- have allowed me to set up transfers between accounts -- even if they weren't the same bank. So it's possible that if you open up a savings account at Bank X in one of your names, you can all set up automatic transfers to make payments into that account.

(My partner and I have done this before we had a shared account for joint savings because it was easier to save and harder to sneak money out for frivolous stuff if we had to justify it.)

posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:41 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I have accounts at like four different banks (well, credit unions anyway) and I can transfer money between all of them, no problem.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:11 PM on August 9, 2011

Amazon Payments is also an option.
posted by grouse at 3:59 PM on August 9, 2011

My trivia team has an ING bank account that I "administer".

I take any cash winnings, and transfer the equivalent amount into the account from my bank.

When we do a dinner, party or activity, I put it on my credit card, and later transfer the equivalent amount out of the account.

At the end of the year I reimburse myself for the tax payable on the interest (this probably isn't a problem in the US :-) )
posted by trialex at 5:29 PM on August 9, 2011

Any idea how to expedite getting a Venmo account? They have a waiting list.
posted by evil holiday magic at 7:01 PM on August 9, 2011

Check your memail. I'll invite you.
posted by jourman2 at 9:21 PM on August 9, 2011

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