NOTE: This article has absolutely nothing to do with genealogy. However, I think some readers may find it useful.
I exchanged e-mail messages this week with a newsletter reader. We discussed the idea of making PDF copies of every receipt we receive for various purchases. My correspondent wrote, "If the developers of cash registers would program to include printing 2-3 codes of info on each receipt, Total $, Date, and perhaps a store ID."
I agree. Scanning of information on printed receipts could be a great time-saver, especially if that information was to be entered into a checkbook program, an income tax program, or similar applications. In fact, I do copy-and-paste my receipts into an income tax program every year.
HOWEVER, I think there is an even better solution, and it is available today. Best of all, it is quick, easy, and no scanner is required.
I like the idea of the merchant or the credit card company sending receipts via e-mail. The Apple stores all do this for every purchase made in person or online. Also, the PayPal debit card does this for every purchase that is paid with the PayPal debit card. If I use a PayPal debit card to pay for groceries, gasoline, computer parts, flowers, or hardware, I always find a receipt in my e-mail within seconds. The receipt gives the date, time, amount, store name, and at least a brief description of the items purchased. (Sometimes it details every item; on other purchases it may only state, "Total of all items purchased.")
In addition, many other credit cards and debit cards now do the same. I have two checking accounts in two different banks (one for personal use and the other for business purchases). Both of my banks send me an email message for each purchase made with a debit card. In addition, both banks place my monthly statements online as PDF files so that I can download those, if I prefer. As long as I use the PayPal credit card or a debit card associated with one of the checking accounts, I receive a record of each transaction that includes the total amount spent, the date, and the name of the store.
I save each receipt as a PDF file in my “Income Taxes” folder. Every Macintosh includes the ability to create PDF files of any email message or most any other documents. Windows users may obtain free software from a number of vendors to add similar capabilities to their systems.
I love the concept: make a purchase in a store, and the information is available to you in electronic format by the time you get home. I can print the e-mail receipt, save it to my hard drive, or copy-and-paste information from that receipt into my tax program, checkbook program, or any other program I use.
(I rarely print anything. I don't need to drown in a sea of paper. Instead, I make electronic copies and then make sure they are backed up in several places.)
If your bank doesn't already offer e-mail notices of every charge made to a debit card, you might want to obtain a PayPal debit card. When I make a charge on my PayPal card, the email receipt is always waiting for me by the time I return home. In fact, when I charge something online, I receive an email receipt from PayPal within seconds after completing the transaction.
One of the reasons I use my PayPal debit card most of the time in lieu of other debit cards or credit cards is that I appreciate the great convenience and for the extra layer of security that PayPal adds. I have the PayPal debit card set up to directly withdraw funds from my bank's checking account. I use it in the same manner that I would use a bank debit card. In fact, I can use either my bank's debit card or the PayPal debit card: in my case, they both withdraw money from the same checking account, and both have no fees for normal transactions. The only significant difference is that one sends me e-mail receipts within minutes while the other does not send the email message for a few hours.
I prefer to use the PayPal debit card instead of other credit cards or debit cards for these reasons:
- I receive an immediate e-mail confirmation within seconds when I make any purchase, online or in a store. If only regular banks would do this, I think less fraud would occur and more transparency. If anyone does make a fraudulent charge on my card, I receive an email notice within seconds. I can call PayPal Customer Service and stop the payment immediately.
- I can save, print, or copy-and-paste that information into any other program I use, such as income tax programs. Very handy!
- There is no fee to use the PayPal Debit Card to make purchases from any merchants that accept MasterCard.
- PayPal debit card purchases may (or may not) be eligible under MasterCard's Premier Business Card program for a variety of protections, including rental car insurance, travel assistance, and protection against lost or damaged items. The details will vary from merchant to merchant. Please see the MasterCard Guide to Benefits for more details. (https://www.paypal.com/en_US/pdf/BusinessCardBenefits.pdf)
- Earn 1% cash back whenever you sign for a purchase. 1% isn't much, but it is more than what my bank pays.
- Best of all, PayPal provides 100% protection against unauthorized purchases made with a PayPal debit card. I like the higher level of security when using a PayPal debit card. Credit cards are also protected against online fraud but may or may not have the same level of protection for in-person use. Many banks also do not offer fraud insurance on their bank-issued debit cards; however, all PayPal debit cards are fully insured. PayPal insures ALL purchases, both online and in-person, against fraud. Even better, if someone ever did use my PayPal debit card fraudulently, I would know about it within minutes when I receive the e-mail receipt of the purchase. Prompt action resolves many problems.
The one downside is that PayPal credit cards are available only to U.S. customers.
The PayPal account is free. The PayPal debit card is free. Making purchases in the United States is free of fees although making purchases overseas may incur a fee for currency conversion, the same as most other credit cards and debit cards. Details may be found at https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/?cmd=p/acc/dc_intro-outside.
It seems to me that too few people know about the advantages of PayPal debit cards.
And, no, I don't get a commission for writing this article. I am simply a satisfied PayPal customer. While I have used other PayPal services for twelve years, I didn't obtain a PayPal debit card until seven or eight years ago. I have used it hundreds of times since then. It always has worked well.
I even selected PayPal to handle the subscription payments for this newsletter because (1.) I appreciate the higher level of security, and (2.) the company has served me well without a single problem for twelve years.
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