Firstly, I am sorry that you have been the recipient of a lot of our known troubles with the merchant tool. As with a lot of our tools and processes, there are a couple of things we are trying to fix, and it looks like you have experienced all of our merchant related issues at once.
I’ll talk through each of your examples in turn, and then give a more general comment about what we are doing and how you can help.
I agree completely! This was always a stop-gap until we had a better system in place. An update is coming soon.
Umai Sushi / Carphone Warehouse
I am sorry that you have been on such a confusing journey with Umai! There are some situations where there could be two merchant names shown, which I’ll explain below. However, with regards to your particular example, I have changed it back to Umai Sushi.
Sometimes the data we get from MasterCard does not enable us to distinguish between merchants, and the immediate solution we had decided upon was to show both possible merchant names.
The first example of this is where a merchant has moved premises, but left behind a point of sale (POS) terminal. A new merchant who moves into the premises and starts using the old POS terminal will appear to us as the old merchant.
The second example is when merchants share POS terminals. This is not very common, and usually between smaller merchants. Again, the data we get from MasterCard would not enable us to distinguish between the merchants, so two merchant names might be less frustrating than the name always changing. An example of this is Apotheca cocktail bar and Dough pizza shop in Manchester. All cocktails are charged as Dough Pizza Kitchen.
I realise that the solution we have come to at this stage is not ideal. We are talking about potentially having a dropdown option in this sort of situation, so customers could choose which merchant they want to appear in their feed. Do you have any other ideas for how we could handle this?
Regarding this particular Umai Sushi / Carphone Warehouse example, it seems very suspect that a large retailer like Carphone Warehouse wouldn’t get their own POS terminals. As such, I have changed it back to Umai Sushi.
We have developed a tool that searches Twitter for logos. It happens automatically when a merchant is found. Unfortunately, sometimes this means that logos are not of the highest quality. If this is the case and it makes your feed look ugly (something we care a huge amount about!), then the most useful thing for us is if you send us some feedback, as you have been doing, saying that the logo is rubbish! I have already changed this one for you.
We have a number of updates to make to our merchant groups, as we call them. As you rightly point out, we need to merge some groups and change the names of some groups. We hope to have this sorted out in the coming months, but it is a bigger task than it might seem.
In all of these examples, giving us your feedback is really really useful. Reporting transactions without comments doesn’t help much, because as you may have realised, sometimes the data we get isn’t complete. However, telling us that you have two transactions from the same place with different names, or advising on how we should spell certain words, is great.
So overall, there are many plans to improve the process! Your feedback is vital to this and we learn a huge amount from it. When we get conflicting feedback from customers we try to come to the best solution for everyone, but this sometimes isn’t ideal.
Other steps that we are taking to improve this process are working with MasterCard to see if we can get improved data, and working on getting crowd-sourced merchant information. Hugo is going to post a little sneak peek as to what this will look like very soon .
Again, my apologies for your experience here. Hopefully, when we have everything ironed out, your beautiful feed will be all the more satisfying knowing that you helped us out so much!!