The Rise Of The E-Receipt

A few weeks ago I held a short business meeting in a New Zealand cafe. After buying the coffees for the group, I asked for a tax invoice – naturally. Surprisingly the cafe prefers to issue receipts as a quality image embedded within an email, which makes total sense in today’s world of environmental conscience and smart phone technology.

I’ve noticed a few of the bigger high-street retailers, including Apple and Gap, have started to ask if they can email you a receipt, but as a frequent international traveller this was the first time I have experienced a direct email approach (whilst I was stood at the counter) for a relatively low-value purchase. Now I appreciate this might seem like a minor thing for some, but after wrestling with bundles of receipts following a week or two on the road, this little innovation is going to make life a lot easier.

With an electronic version of the receipt stored on my phone I don’t need to worry about handling the “paperwork” given it is already in a suitable format to reconcile and link against my online expense claim. It also eliminates the very real possibility that a receipt might go missing. I defy anyone who travels regularly to tell me this has never happened to them. I saw one survey by Best Western, which claimed lost receipts were costing business travellers an average of £400 per year.

I appreciate not everyone’s going to be happy giving their email address away to a coffee shop half-way across the world, but as long as these outlets respect my privacy, I see no reason why I shouldn’t give them this information. After all, I’ve already trusted them with my card details.

Before you even ask, I haven’t received any spam or marketing material from said cafe – I’ll let you know if I do.

Shane Bruhns holds the position of Chief Operating Officer, responsible for product strategy, pricing, development and operations. Shane is also engaged in new business sales, key partner management and provides expertise across our global markets. In 1999 Shane jointly conceived and managed the development of the Internet-based expense management solution myPCard.com with Simon Raymer. Shane joined Spendvision in 2004, as the Director of Sales and Marketing, when the company purchased myPCard.com from Deloitte. Shane is a member of the Spendvision Holdings Limited Board. Shane's early career spanned the Financial Services, Manufacturing and Information Technology industries. In 1997 he joined Deloitte Consulting, initially working in project management with a number of SAP and e-procurement implementations around the globe.