Merchant names - Traditional vs Challenger Banks Metadata


#1

I’m just asking this out of curiosity as I know there is a thread for making corrections to merchant names and it doesn’t only apply to Starling.

Is there a difference in the way a traditional bank gets a merchant name when paying by debit card to what way the new fintech companies do? A couple of my merchant names have been way off and I will update the thread to notify the corrections. It got me wondering if this is the case with traditional banks. I would have thought that the merchant’s bank would have pushed the company name out and it would somehow always be accurate as has been the case with my old banks. I’ve been testing out a couple of these new banks/fintech providers and merchant names seem so haphazard and inaccurate.

Do old banks have these problems too and it’s just not happened to me or is there something in the technology that is different in getting merchant names?

Absolutely loving Starling other than that for the instant notifications and such a smooth and user friendly app.


#2

I think the issue here is that Starling and the other fintechs try to be very clever and present the transactions to us in a nicer format than how the merchant is actually set up with the acquiring banks. So for example, “TESCO STORES 6317” as it might appear on a traditional bank statement comes out as “Tesco” and a pin stuck on a map identifying the particular store (in this case, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire).

Much of this metadata isn’t easily sourced, and each fintech has to kinda reinvent the wheel (I posted something a few weeks back on the subject here). Most fintechs like provide something like this to make the statement easier and simpler to read, to offer something more friendly to their customers which differs from the big banks, but for each organisation it’s a royal ball-ache to collate.

Interesting enough, I notice N26 (in Germany) don’t bother with this - you get the same merchant name on the statement from them than you do from a traditional bank. Maybe they just can’t see the value in trying to represent statement data in a different way…?


#3

I wish they wouldn’t then. I’m OCD about neatness too and don’t want random numbers etc either. The problem with me is earlier this month a payment described as “Google Drive” came out with the Google Drive triangle logo for £5.99 which I couldn’t understand. I use a free version of Google Drive with extra storage that I was grandfathered in to before it became popular. I thought they had now started charging me without any notification and was about to let rip on them. It’s only when I checked my old bank to see how long this had been happening for was then I realised it wasn’t for Google Drive at all. It was for a site TVPlayer.com and the payment was made through a Google PAYMENTS subscription and not Google DRIVE.

Next thing today I made a payment to a domain registrar called NameCheap.com and it shows up as Feedly (feedly.com) which I also use the free version of. Had it not been for the instant notifications I would never have known about this discrepancy and would have immediately blamed them for using my card details without authorisation. A traditional bank sends out statements every 3 months but at least they are accurate and I’ve never once had any weird payments. If Starling and other fintech/new banks had been issuing statements as inaccurate as that 3 months later I’d never have remembered and would have been blaming the companies without thinking the bank could possibly be so wildly incorrect.

The NameCheap payment was made through Paypal and shows “Paypal - *FEEDLY” on Starling but on PayPal it shows correctly as “Namecheap, Inc” aand says “You’ll see “PAYPAL *NAMECHEAP” on your card statement”.