I have used Money Dashboard and Lloyds spending aggregators which breakdown my spend each month on my current account, however they both seem to have issues with categorising my expenditure and a large proportion seems to be uncategorised and requires me to manually tag each item into the correct category which I don’t have the time or patience to do . What do you have in place once you launch your similar feature to avoid this?
Very good question, thanks!
Our objective is for you to not need to manually correct any transaction, we use the information of the card network (MasterCard currently) together with our own database (where we store every merchant we encounter) to give you enriched info, emoji, map, logo and category. The more users we have and more stores you visit the better we’ll get.
In practice, there are always cases where that’s simply not enough and we’re going to fail
From merchants where you can buy radically different products (you can go to Sainsbury’s and get a £50 iTunes top up card) to small merchants that get to share the same point of sale for different businesses (barber shop / phone unlocking, etc.) and even other payments players, as PayPal, where you can pay lots of different things but in our side we only see “PayPal”.
Very soon we’re going to start working on Your spending and I’m sure we’ll learn a lot about how to minimise the pain when the categories are wrong.
On the radar, of course, things like integrating with big merchants to get to know exactly the items you bought or even get access to your email to scrap your Amazon purchases and things like that. But that’ll take time
More categories for budgeting
Fantastic! this all sounds really positive and will make you stand out from the rest of financial trackers out there! looking forward to it
Integrating with big merchants sounds like an excellent idea. I’m sure purchases at the big supermarkets and Amazon* will account for a large volume of transactions.
*Amazon have recently introduced Amazon Pantry - “a new service exclusive to Prime members, offering low-priced grocery and household products in everyday sizes.”
Tesco’s Brand Guarantee is pretty interesting.
Do you know what method they use to capture their competitors’ prices?
No idea (I’ve never worked for supermarkets) but I guess probably website scrapping? Then you consider how big Tesco is and… I wouldn’t be surprised if they have a few guys visiting their competitors every single day and tracking each product manually.
Integration with big merchants can be awesome but I’m sure it will be a really difficult challenge. Supermarkets know that their information is incredibly valuable (loyalty cards, etc.) and may not be always interested in sharing that info with their customers just because. I’m only speculating, of course
They probably use a service like mySupermarket (or whatever technology is behind it) … which is either based on scraping or on supermarkets voluntarily sharing data feeds, or a mixture of both.
Check out this blog from Tesco’s R&D team.
“It seems that the days of getting prices by wandering around competitors’ branches and making notes has long gone in the digital age”
And the comment about Automation Anywhere listing Tesco as a customer. << Busted!
The book Reshaping Retail: Why Technology is Transforming the Industry and How to Win in the New Consumer Driven World states that Sainsbury’s is doing the same:
Sainsbury’s uses a technique known as data scraping, which involves collecting data published on other organizations’ websites and using the data to populate Sainsbury’s own price comparison database. Every night at midnight, Sainsbury’s scrapes the (over 20,000) online prices published by its main competitors, Tesco and Asda.
Also, an article about data mining, Tesco and banks:
Given all the supermarkets do it, and the data would be useful for other cases anyway, it does seem that they might as well save themselves the hassle and agree that all of them will just publish it.