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Standardized Digital Receipt Format

Paper receipts are so 20th century
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Digital receipts aren't a new idea; a few stores have started to offer them as an alternative to paper. But what is needed is a standardized format that all merchants can use to store and transmit receipts, perhaps based on XML or some other data encapsulation method.

Your email address could be on file with your credit card company (which it probably already is). When you pay with a credit card, you could have your digital receipt sent to the credit card company, who would then email it to you. This would save the hassle (and alleviate the privacy concerns) of having to give every merchant your email address. Your mail program could be set to flag digital receipts as they come in, and you could review and add them to a database or your financial tracking program or whatever (or it could do so automatically, but this has a potential for abuse by spammers and such).

Of course, you could still opt for a paper receipt instead if you pay with cash or check, or if you just happen to be a Neo-Luddite.

ytk, Feb 17 2012

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       //Ever notice how casually cashiers ask for your very personal information at the register?//   

       I do most of my shopping at local stores, and most of my tech buying is online, so when I bought something at Radio Shack last time it was a surprise when, while ringing up my order, the clerk said, "And may I have your phone number?" Taken by surprise, I just flatly said, "No." It seemed to break something in her brain because she paused as if she wasn't sure what her next move was. Fortunately her boss was right there behind her and muttered, "Just ring it up."
Psalm_97, Feb 18 2012
  

       Several local'ish businesses who needed my name "for warranty purposes" are under the impression my name is "Bearer".
FlyingToaster, Feb 18 2012
  

       It's not quite possible but I thought you could be given a qr code on say a screen at the check out that you scan with your phone to retrieve your receipt online.   

       alternatively, you could produce a qr code on your phone that is your unique identifier so the receipt can be associated to some account.
lostmind, Feb 19 2012
  

       //1) Increased cost for the bank to establish such a system, which WILL be passed on to consumers.//   

       The infrastructure is already there for this to happen. I know certain businesses already transmit breakdowns of my purchase to the credit card company, because they show up on my statement in varying degrees of detail. Some merchants just show the type of item or service purchased, and some even provide a detailed list of what I bought. The increased cost is therefore likely to be fairly insubstantial.   

       /2) Getting the stores to go along with it. Those businesses WANT your email address so they can spam your inbox with their advertisements.//   

       Sure they do, but they also want to reduce their costs where possible. Not having to print receipts for every transaction could represent a significant savings for a company, particularly large companies that do business across the country or world. Besides, the credit card company can simply mandate it, and the businesses pretty much have to go along.
ytk, Feb 19 2012
  
      
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