Our Blog

Connect with us on LinkedIn

Monday, 14 February 2011

Data, data, everywhere, but not a report to run...

In a world where organisations seek end to end travel and expense solutions, often using multiple suppliers the missing link is usually the detailed payment information. In response, Visa and MasterCard introduced a solution, which allows merchants to submit additional data to the card issuers regarding a specific transaction (P Card). This additional data may include; tax amounts, product codes, descriptions, shipping information, etc - this is called; Level 3 data. The banks display this information on customer's statements. This provides an enhanced level of service from both merchants and banks enabling the end customer to account for their purchases automatically, potentially right through to the corporate ERP system.

So why do you still only receive basic statements (transaction date, merchant narrative and the charge amount), you ask? Well it seems whilst transaction fees from the banks/issuers are lower to merchants if Level 3 data is provided. The implementation process is both expensive and complex for small-mid size merchants and even larger ones don't hand off this data for "strategic" reasons.

Historically airlines do provide Level 3 data; the lower transaction fee is very enticing due to their volume. The data made available by airlines includes the traveller name, ticket number and route information. After looking at a number of examples of airline data we discovered some airlines are very consistent in the data they provide. However, some airlines provide a poorer level of data for instance Route information from some airlines were "XXX-XXX", rather than "MAN-JFK". This complicates the situation even more.

This lack of transaction level data received from their suppliers frustrates Business customers. To compound this Merchants tend to provide the data via email or post, which arrives in different formats and on a timescale that suits the merchant. Manual intervention is then required by the customer to reconcile all this non matched data to monthly bank statements.

An implementation barrier exists for banks and issuers which hinders the success of Level 3 data - the inability to push this as a solution. With the number of merchants' they deal with, where and how would they start? After all they are financial, not technology companies. Their core business is the transactions themselves - not optional data.

CSP puts business customers on the front foot, ensuring critical data is passes to Conferma at the point a virtual card is deployed. This gives our customers centralised, standard, well formatted, upfront data with visibility of incoming charges, proactive not reactive.

Together with our partners, we're bringing our customers a level of data and insight that is unprecedented in the industry.

No comments:

Post a Comment