Tired of splitting checks when eating out? Venmo greatly simplifies making payments to your friends using your Android or iOS device, for free.

It originally began as a text-message-based payment startup, but Venmo has been gaining steady traction among smartphone users looking for payment utilities without the use of NFC chips and external card readers and sliders.

The mobile app allows its users to send money to their contacts without the hassle of dealing with differing indivudal bank or credit card services. 

The result is a seamless and universally accessible payment experience that omits the hidden charges or commission fees (at least when paying with a bank account).

Those without Androids or iPhones can also get in on the action. Non-smartphone users will instead receive alerts via text message from Venmo, notifying them of payments and pending charges. Between Venmo's Web site and its apps, users can use the service seamlessly without concern for being charged transfer fees between different banks. Combined with the accessibility of a smartphone, you're now looking at a digital wallet that just simply works -- without card readers or NFC chips.

Venmo claims to keep a tight grip on their security. In addition to complying with government standards, Venmo argues that it's even more strict with its funds than even the regulations set by the federal bank. Combined with 256-bit SSL encryption, you can sleep soundly knowing that your payments are securely transferred.

If you frequently go out to dinner with friends or deal with IOUs, then Venmo is a  must-have utility for your smartphone. Venmo is available for free on the iPhoneAndroid devices, and the Web.

Editors' note: While using Venmo, payments made by your bank account or Venmo balance will not be charged extra. When using credit cards as payments, the first $500 in transactions are free of charge. For more information on fees and limits, visit Venmo's site.