We've probably all seen the emailed receipts that some retailers seem to send out. Apple sends your receipt as an email. Some retailer send PDF files with an invoice/receipt for online purchases.
But I was thinking about what can we do to rid ourselves of all this paper you collect in your wallet.
A quick browse around the internet last night brought me to this page: http://www.thehotiron.com/index.php/site/comments/ideas_to_eliminate_and_automate_retail_receipts/
I really liked the idea of a iCalendar/vCard type implementation rather than a formatted email/PDF file. The reasons are as follows:
- It's data, can be loaded to a smart phone app, finance program, or just saved somewhere as a file.
- It could be generated as a QR code - you can create a vCard QR Code that contains contact information - why not a receipt. The QR code could be printed on the bottom of a paper receipt - meaning those that want electronic and possess a smart phone can scan it (rather than the current standard of taking a photo and OCR or manually entering the data)
- It could be transmitted via NFC/Email/SMS or presented as a QR code on an LCD screen (this might be a bit slow though at a POS terminal).
Next I thought quickly about implementation. It would be hard, and very unlikely, for every retailer to set up LCD screens/email gateways etc to send these receipts out....so I thought why not think a bit higher up the food chain...what do all the retailers have (well most of them here in NZ) - EFT POS terminals. All leased or bought through one or two companies.
With a bit of modification, the EFT POS receipts that are currently printed could include a QR code of a Digital receipt, or on authorisation the EFT POS merchants could send out receipts via email/sms (obviously this last idea would be a subscription based system), or include NFC technology (terminals which include this technology are already being implemented with the likes of snapper, Visa's PayWave or Mastercards PayPass).
It seems like we have most of the pieces they just need to be connected...
Do you like the idea of digital receipts? Do you keep your paper ones? Do you throw everything away?
How do we deal with the fact that a receipt is proof or purchase, and is used for your warranty claim? Those that scan receipts, have you used one of those to validate your purchase? Did the store accept it?
Sure there are some kinks to work out, but I don't think they're insurmountable.
Other related posts:
Contactless Payments - part 2
Free $80 - come and get ur moneyz!!
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