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Some food trucks and vendors at the farmers market use a card-swiping device called Square to accept credit or debit card payments.
Saturday, August 10, 2013
Online shoppers are accustomed to receipts showing up in their inbox, but soon you could be receiving a lot more receipts via email.
Brick- and-mortar stores and restaurants are offering digital receipts more often these days, and shoppers have found pros and cons to the system.
So far, shoppers have the opportunity to receive digital receipts at stores such as Gap, Old Navy, Macy’s, Sears, Toys R Us and Kmart. I’ve also been offered digital receipts from certain restaurants, such as 501 Speakeasy in downtown Roanoke, area food trucks and vendors at the farmers market who use Square to accept credit or debit card payments.
I like the convenience of having the receipt sent via email , especially if I’m out on a marathon shopping day — I know exactly where I can find the receipt once I get home. However, I like having the option to have a printed receipt at times, too.
I asked readers on the Shoptimist blog how they felt about digital receipts and got mixed reviews.
C. James wrote: “I really appreciate digital receipts. They save paper and I can keep them indefinitely. How often have you tried to find an old printed receipt in order to return something? It’s nearly impossible to keep up [with] printed receipts! I recently returned an item to Macy’s and with access to my digital receipt (on my mobile phone) it was a very smooth transaction.”
Vickie C. agreed. She wrote, “Returns are easy, they don’t turn black if you leave them in the car where the sun will change the thermal paper … I don’t have to worry about my personal information if I lose it or it ends up in the trash before I shred them.”
Not everyone was convinced though.
Doug Pirahna wrote: “Nope, not going to do it, just another way for the stores to track what you buy.”
While I agree that shoppers should be cautious when it comes to sharing information, it’s nearly impossible to keep your purchases from being tracked these days.
If you have a Kroger Plus or Food Lion MVP card, you’re being tracked. If you purchase products online, you’re being tracked. If you have a debit or credit card, you’re being tracked. Unless you’re shopping with cash only, chances are you’re being tracked.
One tip I would suggest for digital receipts, which was also mentioned by Vickie C., is to have a separate email account just for them. That makes it easier to sift through receipts, and ensures your everyday email box won’t get clogged. Digital receipts are also convenient if I know I won’t be returning the purchase. In that case there’s no wasted paper and I can just delete the email.
Outside of email receipts, there are other ways to digitize your paper trail. Reader Kathryn wrote, “I use an app that takes a picture of my receipt, pulls the information from it such as retailer, price, date, etc., and I can add in other information as needed.”
Kathryn didn’t mention the name of her app, but the most popular one available is plainly called Digital Receipts and is free to download for both Apple and Android products. This app not only stores your digital receipts, but offers tools to help you set budgets, track expenses and search for receipts by store name or label.
How do you feel about digital receipts? Join the conversation on the Shoptimist blog at blogs.roanoke.com/Shoptimist .
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