PayPal believes it has solved the awkwardness of getting paid back by friends and family through PayPal.me, just in time for the holiday gift-giving season.

According to Matt Gromada, PayPal’s director of consumer marketing, the amount of money individuals owe friends and family on a global basis totals “$51 billion, or $450 on average.” A study commissioned by the payments firm ­­— with consumers in the U.S., Canada, Germany and Australia — found that in the U.S. alone, “55 percent of the folks found it hard to ask for money back.”

The payments firm believes it can solve that problem for users of its PayPal network, using the PayPal.me personalized link that allows one to e-mail, text or post a message regarding payment amount. The recipient clicks on the link, enters the amount owed and the funds are then automatically deducted from one account and deposited into the other.

The process is a simple way for one to settle up debts on PayPal’s secure platform. And while settling up typically occurs after a group dinner at a restaurant, the same process can be used to portion out any kind of payment owed, whether for a group present or membership dues owed.

“We learned in the study that electronic peer-to-peer is getting more popular [and has] eclipsed checks,” Gromada said.

While PayPal.me provides a mechanism for the initial outreach regarding payment and the amount owed, it is up to the individual who sends the e-mail to follow up when a friend or family member “forgets” to settle the debt.

The payments firm began trading as an independent company again in July.

The company mandate, per president and chief executive officer Dan Schulman, includes plans to “reimagine financial services, and leverage technology and mobile devices to do so, in order to make peoples’ financial lives simpler, easier and less expensive, and by making it easier for merchants to do business.”

To that end, PayPal has been working on several initiatives, such as One Touch for payment on a mobile device or via a desktop without needing to input username, password and a 16-digit credit card number. Other programs include a credit option for consumers at the time of purchase online and a business loan program for sellers on the PayPal platform.

The company already had a bill splitting option through Venmo, which transfers money from either a Venmo account or through a linked bank account or debit card account. The latest feature through PayPal.me involves direct transfers between PayPal accounts.

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