Let SmartScan Do The Work For You!

Nobody likes typing. For the ultimate hands-free experience, we recommend importing Expensify Guaranteed eReceipts directly from your bank account — this means you can ignore paper receipts entirely, no typing and no SmartScanning required. Alternatively, the next best is our revolutionary “SmartScan” technology.

It’s FREE to upload/forward an unlimited number of receipts to Expensify. SmartScan is an awesome feature that does the typing for you, and is separate from receipt upload. Individual users with no policy access will have 10 SmartScans per month. Team and Corporate policy users have unlimited SmartScans per month.

The SmartScan Process

Once a receipt has been uploaded, users will have the option of whether to SmartScan the receipt. SmartScan will read the receipt and type the following information: 

  1. Merchant Name
  2. Transaction Date
  3. Transaction Amount

Using this information, SmartScan will create a new cash expense. Or even better, if you import a credit/bank card then SmartScan will automatically attach the receipt image to the associated expense.

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SmartScan Saves You Time

SmartScan saves you the time of having to reconcile receipts and expenses. Not using SmartScan for credit card expenses means having to go into Expensify and manually tell the system which receipt is associated with which expense. Not using SmartScan for cash expenses means having to type in the merchant name, transaction amount, and transaction date for all your expenses. SmartScan saves you time by doing all of this for you. 

Cost of SmartScan

SmartScanning is hard work for our system, and only so much greatness can come for free! Every free Expensify user gets 10 receipts SmartScanned per month. Users on Team or Corporate policies get unlimited SmartScans.

How SmartScan Works

SmartScan is a layered system that works as follows:

  1. First it uses “optical character recognition” (OCR) on receipt images to extract the text from the image. As you might imagine, this is incredibly difficult, as receipt images are captured under every lighting condition imaginable, at a variety of orientations and resolutions, with dirty lenses and blurry focus — the list of problems is almost as endless as the number of receipts captured.
  2. Then it analyzes that text to determine what portions correspond to the merchant name, amount, and date of the purchase. Again, this is very difficult as there are no real standards as to how text is organized on the receipt, dates come in different formats depending on the country they were captured in, and so on.
  3. Finally, it consults your list of existing expenses to see if the newly processed receipt image corresponds to a purchase that has already been logged. This is another layer of difficulty as the name and date on the receipt is usually different than the one imported from your credit card.
  4. If necessary, the receipt can also be flagged for human review by one of our secure technicians. At the end of the day, nothing beats the human eye for ultimate quality.

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Enabling SmartScan

SmartScan is automatically enabled for all accounts so that you can take advantage of the 10 free SmartScans per month. To change this setting log into your Expensify account from your web browser and go to Settings  > SmartScanning. Then check/uncheck the box for “Enable automatic SmartScanning”.

To SmartScan a specific receipt from the web, go to the Receipts page and click the  button.

When uploading a receipt from your mobile app, be sure to check the box for “SmartScan”.

Paying for SmartScans

If you’d like to SmartScan more than the free monthly allotment, you can create a Team or Corporate policy and add a billing card. Users on Team and Corporate policies get unlimited SmartScans. 

What does “Receipt Illegible” mean?

Your receipt was most likely missing one or more of these: merchant name, purchase date, or total amount. SmartScan requires these to be present because it’s the only way to ensure it’s a traceable, legitimate receipt.

Help SmartScan get the best results

As described above, SmartScan is trying to solve a very, very difficult problem. You can help simplify that problem and achieve the best possible results with the following simple tips:

  • Clean your lens. It’s obvious, but it’s amazing how easy it is to forget.
  • Enable auto-focus. This typically happens automatically, but just in case.
  • Enable your flash. The best way to get good lighting is to just turn on the flash.
  • Use a dark background. A white receipt on a dark background is the easiest to process.
  • Include background on all sides. To help us find the edges of the receipt, capture a bit of border all around.
  • No fingers on the receipt. If possible, lay the receipt out flat and don’t cover with your fingers.
  • No sensitive information. Don’t take a picture of anything you wouldn’t be willing to throw into the trash.

Still need help?

Our friendly support team is here to help! Send us an email to help@expensify.com and we'll get back to you within 24 hours.