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Airbnb Will Now Let You Split The Cost of Rentals

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(CNN Money) — Airbnb is taking a page out of Uber’s playbook.

The short-term rental startup has announced it will now let users split payments on the platform.

Airbnb users can split the cost of a listing with up to 16 people. Previously, the trip organizer would have to pay for the entire cost of the stay upfront.

Payments are automatically split evenly as a default. However, travelers can choose to pay for more than one person.

Last year, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky asked users on Twitter what feature they’d most like to see in 2017. One of the top requests was the ability to split payments.

The tool will launch worldwide on Tuesday, with the exception of India and China. The current payment rules and regulations in those countries would make it difficult to roll out the feature, according to an Airbnb spokesman.

The option is a part of Airbnb’s greater effort to attract more users. During a test of the feature, the startup said 30% of reservations booked led to one or more new users joining Airbnb. It recently tested the feature among 80,000 groups across 175 countries.

But it’s hardly a new concept. Ride-hailing startups Uber and Lyft both offer a split fare option. Uber said its split fare tool is used during “hundreds of thousands” of rides every month, making it one of its more popular features.

The tool comes a few months after the company rolled out restaurant reservations within its app. Meanwhile, Airbnb announced earlier this month it is acquiring startup Accomable to help connect disabled travelers with more accessible listings.

The platform is also trying to expand beyond its business model. Earlier this year, it announced plans to build a 324-unit apartment building in Kissimmee, Florida in early 2018.

(©2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved. By Kaya Yurieff)

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