If Apple is doing it than it must be good. The "it" in this case is the use of paperless receipts. The Apple Store began giving consumers the option of having a receipt emailed to them rather than getting paper documentation back in 2005.
Today, a wide variety of retailers are offering e-receipts with purchases. According to a study by Epsilon, 35 percent of retailers offer an alternative to paper.
Jim Sluzewski, a spokesperson for Macy's, told USA Today that e-receipts currently account for 12 percent of transactions at the chain's stores. The small percentage of consumers availing themselves of the e-receipt option suggests that many consumers are more comfortable sticking with paper.
A variety of reasons including cost savings, greater customer insights and interactivity are driving retail adoption of e-receipts.
The one area of apparent disagreement on the benefits of e-receipts is in the fraud/security question.
A piece from last December on the website of STORES argued that e-receipts pose a risk. Tom Rittman, vice president of marketing for The Retail Equation, told the magazine, "A digital receipt can be transmitted instantly to multiple mobile devices across the city [or farther] and re-printed on all means of paper with no control by the retailer. Now, retailers can be hit with rapid and massive return fraud before having time to react. With e-receipts, retailers are more susceptible to organized retail crime."
Another article on the Bronto Software acknowledges security concerns, but suggests there's a fix. "The best way to avoid these issues is include a barcode in the email that links to the transaction in your commerce platform. Combining this with other unique identifiers can add another layer of fraud protection."
How long will it be before the majority of retail transactions in North America are confirmed with an e-receipt?