Idea: Digital Receipts

Many times when I get a receipt, at a grocery store for example, I simply toss it away at the scene or when I get home. Sometimes I even crumble it up and try to get it into a garbage can form several feet away. With the amount of receipts I get you would think I’m a pro by now. I am. Sad.

Enter digital receipts. Or receipts 2.0. iReceipt maybe? The idea is this: the clerk would ask you “would you like a receipt with that?” If you say yes, then a paper record is given to you right a the spot like in the good old days before this idea. If you say no, then a paper record is not given. In either case a digital record gets entered against your credit or debit card.

The record would contain an itemized breakdown of what you bought, just like a regular receipt does. Also extra info like warranty, store info, date time etc etc. You can view that receipt by logging into your bank’s online banking site.

Credit and debit card companies would have to agree on a standard, so would the POS software companies (some sort of XML). A store can upgrade their POS software (or buy a new one) that would support that feature. If the store chooses not upgrade their software or buy new one — all is good, they would function just like they do now. This feature will not be forced on anyone.

Benefit to banks (or credit card companies) — they now hold the data that describes what and where a customer purchased something. They can sell that data. For example, say Kellogg wants to know what else customers buy when they purchase their Kellogg’s cereal. Stuff like that.

Benefit to consumers — you have full access to info about your purchasing habits. Your bank maybe nice enough to provide you with free reports about how much you spend on food, bills, etc. Also, when you go back to the store to make a return/exchange you need not bring the receipt with you — just the card you used to make the purchase. The bank will swipe the card and read the necessary receipt.