A few weeks ago I held a short business meeting in a New Zealand cafe. After buying the coffees for the group, I asked for a tax invoice – naturally. Surprisingly the cafe prefers to issue receipts as a quality image embedded within an email, which makes total sense in today’s world of environmental conscience and smart phone technology.

I’ve noticed a few of the bigger high-street retailers, including Apple and Gap, have started to ask if they can email you a receipt, but as a frequent international traveller this was the first time I have experienced a direct email approach (whilst I was stood at the counter) for a relatively low-value purchase. Now I appreciate this might seem like a minor thing for some, but after wrestling with bundles of receipts following a week or two on the road, this little innovation is going to make life a lot easier.

With an electronic version of the receipt stored on my phone I don’t need to worry about handling the “paperwork” given it is already in a suitable format to reconcile and link against my online expense claim. It also eliminates the very real possibility that a receipt might go missing. I defy anyone who travels regularly to tell me this has never happened to them. I saw one survey by Best Western, which claimed lost receipts were costing business travellers an average of £400 per year.

I appreciate not everyone’s going to be happy giving their email address away to a coffee shop half-way across the world, but as long as these outlets respect my privacy, I see no reason why I shouldn’t give them this information. After all, I’ve already trusted them with my card details.

Before you even ask, I haven’t received any spam or marketing material from said cafe – I’ll let you know if I do.