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Merchant Statement Comparison – AI (Artificial Intelligence)?

Updated: Dec 26, 2023

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become increasingly sophisticated in recent years, and it is now being used for a wide range of tasks, including merchant statement analysis.

Ai is confused

In the world of merchant services, there are two main approaches to reading merchant statements: MSA and AI. MSA stands for Merchant Statement Analysis, and it is a manual process that involves a human analyst reviewing the statement line-by-line. AI stands for Artificial Intelligence, and it is a software program that is trained to read merchant statements automatically. So, the question is: which service should you choose?



Artificial Intelligence Accuracy


One reason is that AI merchant statement analysis systems have limitations in that they are trained on datasets of scanned merchant statements. This means that they are only able to identify patterns that are present in the training data. If the training data is biased or incomplete, divided, or mixed up, then the AI merchant statement analysis system will be biased or incomplete as well. Further, it can be difficult to account for all of the nuances of merchant statement fees and likely not able to identify what fees are necessary, and which are not, for a given pricing model. AI programs are still under development, and they can make mistakes, especially with complex statements. Truly this type of machine learning cannot keep up with the ever-changing rates and terminology employed by merchant account providers. It’s endless. One needs a sensitive human mind, which is more intuitive and able to adapt to the situation. How embarrassing it would be to present a wildly inaccurate quote to the merchant and lose their confidence and business!


As a result, companies relying on AI to provide statement analysis also have a backup person or team to handle those statements that fail during AI reading process. Who do you suppose some of these AI companies have reached out to for help?


For these reasons, it is important to be aware of the limitations of AI merchant statement analysis. AI merchant statement analysis systems can be a useful tool, but it should be used only as a tool to assist an actual person performing the analysis.


One of the biggest advantages of MSA is its accuracy. MSA analysts, on the other hand, have years of experience and can spot errors that AI programs would miss. MSA is hands-on all the way and can handle all the different statements and variables out there.


For example, an AI program might not be able to understand the nuances of a merchant's business that an MSA analyst would be able to pick up on. This could lead to an inaccurate quote or even a lost sale.


Speed


AI programs are technically faster than MSA analysts. However, this speed comes at a cost. AI programs often need to be trained on a large dataset of merchant statements, which can take weeks or even months. This means that AI programs are not always able to process new statements quickly.


In addition, AI programs can sometimes make mistakes, which can lead to delays in processing statements. This can be a problem for merchants who need quotes quickly.


MSA analysts can typically process a statement within hours, regardless of its complexity.


Flexibility


MSA is more flexible than AI for reading merchant statements. AI programs can only read statements that are formatted in a specific way. MSA analysts can read statements in any format, even if they are incomplete or have errors. This makes MSA a better choice for merchants who have unusual statements.


MSA is more reliable than AI for reading merchant statements. AI programs can malfunction or go down. MSA analysts are always available to process merchant statements, even if there is a problem with the software.


MSA analysts can provide more detailed and helpful feedback to customers. This can help customers to understand their statements and to make better decisions.


Security


Another advantage of MSA is its security. AI programs store merchant data on their servers, which could be hacked. Where does the data that you upload go? Is it truly safe or does it go into the cloud and become part of the AI neural network forever? This is of course a concern to many. MSA analysts only have access to the merchant data that they need to process the statement. Then they delete the data after the statement has been processed. This makes MSA a more secure option for merchants who are concerned about the privacy of their data.


Cost


While MSA may be slightly more expensive than AI for reading merchant statements, the cost of MSA is offset by the accuracy, speed, flexibility, security, and reliability of the service.



COMPARISON OF SERVICE

APPROACH

ADVANTAGES

DISADVANTAGES

MSA

* More accurate

* More flexible

* More secure

* More reliable


* Slower

* More expensive

AI

* Faster

* Less expensive

* Less accurate

* Less flexible

* Less secure

* Less reliable


CONCLUSION


If you are considering using AI to read your merchant statements, I urge you to do your research and to make sure that the AI program you choose is accurate, reliable, and secure. AI is a powerful tool, but it is not a replacement for human expertise.


Ultimately, the best choice for reading merchant statements depends on the specific needs of the merchant. If accuracy and security are the most important factors, then MSA is the better choice. If speed is the most important factor, then AI may be a better choice. However, it is important to do your research and choose a solution that is right for your business. MSA is a better choice than AI for reading merchant statements in most cases. It is more accurate, faster, flexible, secure, reliable, and cost-effective.


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