How to handle merchant data where it's not obvious who the merchant is

(Mark Rickaby) #1

There’s a coffee shop in my office building that I go to regularly, but every time I buy a coffee there I get a notification from a different company. It’s not that the terminals are mobile, it’s that the merchant doesn’t obviously match the premises and they work out of several. I’ll give specifics here, but I’m sure it’s applicable elsewhere to the extent that it’s worth addressing:

Vacherin are caterers in London; they tend to run coffee shops and cafes in shared workspaces, like WeWork and Workspace, but they never operate under their own name. They just take on the name of the existing cafe or building. The problem with this is that everybody thinks the merchant data is wrong. When I buy a coffee at the Metal Box Factory in Southwark, I want it to show my workplace. When someone else buys a coffee at CBRE, they want it to show their workplace. The people who work at Mace want it to show theirs… but the company you transact with, and the company whose name is shown in the transaction data (the not-very-pretty transaction data to distinguish it from the Monzo feed), is Vacherin. And their office is somewhere else (they only have a HQ).

For me, Monzo should display Vacherin and it should show their location and logo and this should be fixed for offices where we know they operate. Recently, I’ve seen their data update almost fortnightly in the Monzo feed to the point where the latest correction has the Metal Box Factory name, the location of CBRE and the logo of Mace. It’s not correct at all and is liable to be updated every fortnight as people report it. Vacherin don’t, and likely never will, appear in Foursquare results to be selected by users reporting transaction data as incorrect.

Without looking into it a little (as I have), people will always be inclined to update it to show their own place of work where, reasonably, they’d expect to see the notification come from - Vacherin don’t promote themselves as an independent vendor within the workspace coffee shop at all. To my mind, the only consistent and reliable data Monzo can show is that of Vacherin, even if it doesn’t match the many locations they work out of. Either that or we need to accept that the merchant data will change every week or two, and that it will be wrong for most people.


( surohpotsirhC) #2

What does the developer playground say for those transactions?

For instance I get this for Netflix description:"NETFLIX.COM 866-716-0414 NLD"

A better example is probably Boots. If I spend there I get
description:"BOOTS 2817 LONDON GBR"
but a refund from the same shop comes through as

It’s all about what data is sent by the merchant.

(Mark Rickaby) #3


( surohpotsirhC) #4

That’s why then. Unless something changes so that data says VACHERIN LIMTED AT METAL BOX or something then it’ll continue to say Vacherin as I understand it. Someone from Monzo might be able to expand.

(Mark Rickaby) #5

Sorry, it sounds like I wasn’t clear. The transaction displays in Monzo as:

Merchant: Metal Box Factory
Location: Henrietta House
Logo: Mace

Monzo currently shows the name of one company (Metal Box Factory, Southwark), the address of another (CBRE, Marylebone) and the logo of a third (Mace, City of London). None of these belong to Vacherin, who is the merchant shown in the dev playground: "IZ *VACHERIN LIMITED CHANCERY LANE GBR" Vacherin’s HQ address is Chancery Lane.

( surohpotsirhC) #6

Ah right, sorry. I get you now. Well that’s just screwed up.

(Andrew Schofield) #7

The best way to deal with this is through in-app chat (although this hasn’t actually worked for me either), as there is a flag that can be applied to make the merchant somehow “special” so that it doesn’t get constantly overwritten by people submitting merchant data.

The example I have is for Roadchef service stations. They all use UPay and have exactly the same merchant data, which unfortunately means that for almost everyone, when they look at the transaction in monzo it is in the wrong location. This leads to them submitting updated data, which COps dutifully change, not realising they’re just perpetuating the problem. I see a different location nearly every time I open one particular item in my feed…

(Mark Rickaby) #8

I’ve spoken to the COps through in-app chat about this several times over the last few months. Mostly it was to highlight that my merchant update to Vacherin has never once been accepted, but also to let them know that it should be flagged as something that probably shouldn’t be updated once a merchant has been set correctly. So far, I can’t see that any progress has been made.