What are electronic receipts or eReceipts?

Holly Thomas / 14 June 2016

Several retailers are offering customers the option of having an eReceipt emailed to them. Is this really useful or a sneaky way to send you marketing emails?

Email inboxes are inundated with promotions and offers from companies far and wide. Keeping personal details private is paramount for many, especially for those concerned with identity theft.

However, it’s getting more difficult to keep a distance from mailing lists, especially with the growing trend of shops asking for your address when you come to pay for goods. 

Many consumers are reporting they are asked for their email address when buying goods, told by the sales assistant: “so that we can send you a receipt”.

Mothercare, Argos, Topshop, Screwfix, Maplin and Oliver Bonas are among an increasing list of brands that have been highlighted by shoppers as trying to operate in this way.

How long should you keep old paperwork for?

The risk of junk mail

There is no legal obligation to hand over your address but some readers are reporting they feel under pressure to take the electronic receipt instead of the standard paper one. Their main concern is that they will be suddenly inundated with junk emails with offers and promotions they don’t want.

A spokesman for Argos says: “Argos offers eReceipts across its UK and Ireland stores, following a successful trial in 2014.

“We can confirm that the email addresses taken for eReceipts are not used for marketing purposes.

“The eReceipts give Argos customers the option of an emailed receipt straight into their account, allowing them to safely and easily store a permanent digital record of their purchases and warranties.”

Could a thief raid your bank account by just walking past you?

The upside

Indeed, some people might find it a handy option for safekeeping of their receipt. 

When it comes to returning goods for exchange or refund it can be highly frustrating if - for the more forgetful among us - you have mislaid the paper receipt. By opting for an electronic one you will always have it on file - unless you delete the email!

For electronic goods and appliances that come with a 12-month guarantee, the receipt is often the proof of purchase needed to activate it. In some stores, receipts can fade beyond recognition over the months. Again, this is another instance where an electronic version would do well to have on file.

Are extended warranties worth the money?

Avoiding spam

At the till, ask the assistant to help ensure you are not opting in to marketing emails. This may involve ticking a box – they can be cunningly well hidden. 

You might also want to set up an email account specifically for shopping so that you don’t interrupt your main inbox. This will avoid having to manage more junk and keeps shopping related emails in one handy place should you need to call on them in the future.

For more tips and useful information, browse our money articles.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.