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Future File: Digitizing Paper POS Receipts

By Jim Bruene on July 23, 2010 5:48 PM | Comments (1)

image Some of the best innovations come from inventors that develop a solution to a personal pet peeve, then commercialize it. In financial service, Aaron Patzer has told the story many times about how he developed Mint to solve his own needs for a better financial management tool.

If I had Aaron Patzer's drive, or funds, I'd be working on a solution to digitize point-of-sale receipts. In our household, none of us can keep track of a receipt past the first 24 hours. Someone or some thing must come into our house during the night and make off with all paper receipts.

So when it comes to returning something to a store, we usually end up replaying this sad process:

  1. Try to remember where the receipt is
  2. Look for it
  3. Ask spouse if they've seen it
  4. Look again
  5. Curse bad memory (of spouse) and give up for the day
  6. Repeat above steps the next day
  7. Curse bad memory (of self and spouse) and give up for good
  8. Rehearse story to tell store on why you don't have receipt
  9. Return item to store without receipt
  10. Receive gift card instead of cash refund (because there's no receipt)
  11. Forget/lose gift card
  12. Curse paper receipts and vow to better organized


That's why I was excited to hear Square founder Jack Dorsey tell the audience at NACHA Payments in April that one of startup's key strategies was "focusing on the receipt" (see my Tweet right).

Shortly thereafter I met David Crossett at FinovateSpring 2010 who shared his vision of how his startup, ReadyReceipts (note 1) is gearing up to solve this very problem. The product, still in development, uses a unique approach that doesn't rely on the end-user carrying another loyalty card (thank goodness).

If you've ever bought something in an Apple Store (in the USA at least), you can see what he has in mind. Mobile POS systems that email you the receipt and skip the easy-to-lose paper altogether.

In addition to Ready Receipts and Square, a number of other companies are working on solutions including:

Relevance for Netbankers: Receipt management is a very real pain-point that costs consumers millions of dollars and millions of hours of frustration every year. Financial institutions, retailers, and/or direct online financial management (OFM) providers that solve this problem stand to gain market share and/or profitable fee income (see our recent Online Banking Report on OFM features for more info).

Intuit's QuickReceipts is tackling the lost receipt problem (22 July 2010)

Intuit's QuickReceipts

Intuit is spurring grass roots support by enabling visitors to send a Tweet requesting their favorite store adopt QuickReceipts (link)

Intuit's tweet campaign for its QuickReceipts

MyReceipts.com from Third Solutions promotes Whole Foods participation (22 July 2010)


1. ReadyReceipts.com is currently under construction as they build out the company and product.

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you have to save your recepts. people should make it a happy of take the receipts

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