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Verizon Wireless embraces digital receipts

Verizon Wireless embraces digital receipts

Posting in Technology

Wireless carrier will give customers the option to ditch paper receipts in more than 2,000 locations across the United States.

This news item is sort of ironic when you consider that some stores, such as my local Dunkin' Donuts coffee shop for example, will often give customers a free something-or-other if the cashier forgets to hand them a receipt.

But more retailers are extending the concept of paperless to their transaction process -- not just monthly billing. In that vein, the next time you visit a Verizon Wireless store for a new mobile phone or accessory, the transaction might be entirely digital. As in, you won't even be handed a receipt at the end of the sale.

That's because the wireless carrier has just introduced the concept of using digital receipts across more than 2,000 retail locations in the United States. If a customer doesn't want a paper receipt to document the visit, he or she will receive an e-mail that summarizes the transaction and the receipt will be added into his or her "My Verizon" online account management profile.

The concept was tested in about 300 Verizon Wireless stores before the broader introduction, according to the company.

The carrier is pitching the program as a more efficient way for its customers to manage their accounts, but (of course) there will be plenty of people who like having receipts floating around in their pockets or purses. Consider that various estimates figure that only 15 percent to 17 percent of people are opting for the wireless billing options that various companies offer. Maybe they're afraid they will spend more money if they can't hold the tangible proof of that in their hand?

More realistically, the effort is part of Verizon Wireless' push to use less paper and save money, operationally speaking. For example, Verizon Wireless saves almost 70,000 trees by delivering catalogs digitally, the company estimates. Not only is that a lot of forest saved, it's plenty of money that can be cut out of the printing budget.

(Image by Gerla Brakkee, courtesy of Stock.xchng)

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure