Paying for something big by collecting from a network is normal now, whether it's for emergency medical bills, investing in someone's project, or just regular charity. Those tend to be specialized cases, though, for specialized websites like Kickstarter or GoFundMe. Sometimes you're pooling for a more mundane reason. If you want the infrastructure and transparency of crowdfunding sites without the limitations on how you spend, PayPal has got you covered.
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Starting this week, PayPal users can set up Money Pools, which sounds like an awesome Scrooge McDuck offering but is really best for things as big as family trips or as small as paying off meals. Users send money into a designated account rather than to a specific person. One awesome thing about Money Pools is the built-in accountability (or anonymity). The creator can determine whether your name or how much you contribute is public, set deadlines and minimum contributions, and call out those who haven't yet done their part.
The service may prove especially useful as the holidays approach. If you're organizing a joint gift for a friend, colleague, or family member, Money Pools can take the hassle out of tracking who's paid what, as well as assuring everyone in the group that the money is being handled fairly. Communicating with your group stays simple and out in the open with commenting, and each project is individually managed and labeled, to reduce confusion. Once you've hit your fundraising or payback goal, you can transfer the cash to whatever service you'd use to pay.
You've got a lot of mobile-friendly choices when it comes to reimbursement, like Venmo and the Cash App. PayPal obviously plans on staying in the game and leading the charge.