With most transaction now taking place by card, the days of the paper-based receipts in shops are surely numbered.
Some shops now ask me whether or not I want a receipt – I suppose to avoid the environmental impact of printing something that will immediately be thrown away. And some shops offer email receipts, but that has data protection concerns because I’m handing over me email address that is then invariably used for email marketing.
The obvious solution to me is for the payment card processors to capture itemised receipt information, and pass it back to the bank for integration with my online bank statement.
When I check my transactions on my mobile app it would be great to be able to drill down into the transaction to see exactly what I bought – and perhaps remind me how I managed to spend €92 in Ikea when I popped in for just one thing.
Of course, this does mean entrusting my purchase information to banks, but they can be regulated to treat the data carefully and safely. And I’m sure that the banks would love to analyse the (hopefully anonymised) data to have more insight into our spending habits.
Use in the shop
Several fin-tech companies already provide the ability to notify you of transactions in near real-time. Both my N26 and Revolut cards display alerts on my phone as soon as I’ve paid for something. So it shouldn’t be too hard to expand that to included detailed receipt information as part of the alert.
I’d receive my receipt on my phone before I’d even stepped away from the till, and I would be able to check it over for accuracy.
Then, if I ever needed to return anything, I could maybe just pull up a bar-code representing the receipt on my phone, and let the retailer scan it to retrieve the purchase transaction details on their system.
Usage at home
I could also use the detailed information in the receipts to analyse my own spending habits, and see just exactly how much money a year I’m spending on takeaway coffees and shampoo.
I could also set up detailed budgets for certain products – for instance, to limit myself to spending €30 a month on beer – and check my spending against those budgets.