Why Do We Still Have Paper Receipts?

It is surprising that shops still issue paper receipts to customers. Proof of purchase may be a good reason for producing receipts, but this old technology is failing for various reasons. If the purchase is an important one and a record of purchase is necessary, the retailer will produce a more substantial paper print-out in addition to the till receipt.

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What Is the Problem with Traditional Till Receipts?

Environmental and Health Costs

Although the paper and ink are seemingly very flimsy, receipts are in fact extremely damaging to your health. They contain BPA, or Bisphenol A, which it is well documented can cause a range of illnesses such as cancer, premature puberty, type 2 diabetes and obesity. In addition, the paper is not compostable and can contaminate groundwater.


Even if you are organised and manage not to lose your receipts, they are not practical to store in a convenient manner. You may need them for tax purposes as well as for proof of purchase. How many of us have lost receipts in pockets, put them through the wash or rendered them illegible by not folding them neatly enough? There has been much discussion about why we continue with paper receipts, as discussed in this BBC report: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37763975.

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Online shopping providers have moved on a step when it comes to proof of purchase with e-mail tracking. Delivery companies such as a Slough same day courier have refined the process of tracking goods, with the option for customers to follow the progress of their deliveries on Google maps. The service is completed by documentation proving that delivery has taken place.

Shops are experimenting with the same kind of technology by offering to email receipts to customers. This is particularly common with contactless payments. It is significant that retailers spend a huge amount of money on printing receipts, many of which will be thrown away. Some customers are uncomfortable about sharing email details with retailers. Take a look at the website of a Slough same day courier for details about how information is stored and kept safe.

For environmental, economic and health reasons, paper receipts should be on their way out. One factor which would help would be for the POS software from the ‘90s to be upgraded and more integrated for modern retail requirements.

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