Deep Dive: What is SmartScan and how it works

Sheena Trepanier
Sheena Trepanier Expensify Team, Approved! Accountant, Expensify Student Ambassador Posts: 1,362 Expensify Team
edited April 2022 in Deep Dive Docs
SmartScan is the time-saving tool that every Expensify user needs. Using SmartScan, you can quickly upload receipts and walk away to take care of more important things. Behind the scenes, SmartScan will process the expense data from your receipt and create an expense or automatically attach the receipt to a matching imported credit card expense.

What is SmartScan?

SmartScan is simple on the outside and complex on the inside. When you SmartScan a receipt, we’ll read the MerchantDate and Amount of the transaction, create an expense, and add it to your Expensify account automatically. If you have a credit card connected and you upload a receipt that matches a card expense, the SmartScanned receipt will automatically merge with the imported expense instead!

  • Expensify accounts come with 25 free SmartScans per month. If you’re an individual user and you need access to unlimited SmartScans, check out the Monthly Subscription
  • If your organization is already using Expensify and you belong to a company policy, you’ll have access to unlimited SmartScans by default.

How SmartScan Works:

While you're enjoying your coffee, thinking about what to pack or waiting for your package, we’ll scan the information from the receipt without any more input necessary from you.

SmartScan is a multi-layered system that works as follows:

  1. First it uses “optical character recognition” (OCR) on receipt images to extract the text from the image. 
  2. Then it analyzes that text to determine what portions correspond to the merchant nameamountcurrency, and date of the purchase. If it can't detect a specific currency symbol, it will default to the currency based on your current location. You can also write one in by hand if it's not noted!
  3. Finally, SmartScan consults your list of existing expenses to see if the newly processed receipt image corresponds to a purchase that has already been imported via a credit card connection or CSV spreadsheet. We will then merge these transactions. Different currencies? No problem. We'll still match 'em. 

If our OCR technology can't read the receipt, we will make sure it's flagged for human review by one of our secure technicians. At the end of the day, nothing beats the human eye for ultimate quality.

How do I get unlimited SmartScans?

If you belong to your company’s policy, you have unlimited SmartScans automatically. However, if you’re an individual user, purchase the Monthly Subscription to gain access to limitless SmartScans.

How can I SmartScan multiple receipts as quickly as possible?

You can enable Rapid Fire of receipts by tapping the camera icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen when taking a picture of your receipts. With Rapid Fire enabled, you can snap away without ever being taken out of the camera to code your receipts:

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