4

When one goes to the grocery store, one receives a receipt that lists all the items one has bought, with the name of the item and its amount.

On my credit card statement (BoA), I only see a charge for the total amount, and can't seem to find a way to view the 'receipt' electronically.

For example, suppose I bought a steak ($12.00) and a mango ($4.00).

On my credit card bill, I only see a charge from Grocery Store XYZ for $16.00, and it doesn't list out what the items were.

Is there a way to get this information without OCR or looking at my paper receipt?

  • 1
    "You can't get there from here." The system doesn't work the way you want it to -- at least, not yet. Sorry. – Chris W. Rea Jul 11 '15 at 17:19
  • The specific term to describe what you are looking for is an "itemized receipt." In this case, does the merchant provide an itemization of the transaction to the payment processor or financial institution? – user19851 Jul 11 '15 at 19:09
11

The store keeps track of what you buy. It is all part of their big data. The knowledge of what you buy helps them project future sales. It allows them to target their marketing. But maybe even more importantly they can sell this knowledge to outside companies. They aren't going to give away that information to another company that would love to have that data, just so they could sell it.

Stores use those loyalty cards to be able to link your household to those purchases. Those discounts, or free products, are what they use to entice you to give up your privacy.

The fact that in your town young adults love caramel apples, even more than the town next door, makes them confident that your town will love caramel apple scented shampoo. Thus they send you coupons when it become available. They will also sell this knowledge to the shampoo companies.

Do some stores make it possible for you to download the data? Yes they do. Apple stores send all receipts via email. Kohls allows me to see detail information about my transactions on line. There must be others. I don't know if any are grocery stores.

  • I think you'll find that very few stores actually keep track of what YOU buy (outside of reward/loyalty programs that you sign up for). They keep track of what is sold (for inventory &c), but not to whom. If nothing else, a large part of sales are in cash. I've also never received targeted marketing from any grocery store. It's all bulk mail. – jamesqf Jul 11 '15 at 17:03
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    @jamesqf Kroger companies send out targeted coupons directly based on your purchases. My coupons are different than my neighbors because we buy different items. – Alex B Jul 11 '15 at 18:36
  • One of the biggest supermarket chains in the Netherlands do the same thing (Albert Heijn). And they also allow you to log in to see exactly what you bought in the past and automatically reorder it for pick up delivery (not 100% sure for that last part, as they don't have a pick up center anywhere close to where I live). – David Mulder Jul 11 '15 at 21:19
  • 1
    Home depot also offers e-mailed itemized receipts (which is very useful if you ever need to find a matching part) – user2813274 Jul 11 '15 at 21:20
  • 1
    @Alex B: That still adds up to "very few", no? – jamesqf Jul 12 '15 at 5:33
14

As a merchant I can tell you that the only thing the bank gets from me. Is the total amount and a category for my business. No detail, not ever.

  • This is not something the bank asks from you. This is something that I, as a customer entitled to have and you can not refuse to give it to me. The question is just how to move this to the 21th century... – Andris Dec 27 '16 at 22:03
9

The stores track the individual items for inventory planning and marketing purposes.

Having worked in the transaction processing business for a time (writing one), I can say with confidence that the credit/debit card companies do not receive an itemized list of the items involved in the transaction. There is usually a description field in the information transmitted to the processor, which may or may not contain useful information. But it is not big enough to contain an itemized grocery list of any size. And it is not standardized in any way that would facilitate reliable parsing. There may be an amount of metadata about the transaction that would indicate the types of products involved in the transaction, which they can also infer from the merchant reporting the transaction.

There are efforts to increase the amount of data reported, but they are not widely used yet, due to the overwhelming numbers of banks that would need to be upgraded. These efforts are rolling out only in specific and limited uses where the banks involved are willing to upgrade software and equipment.

For now, the best way to know what you bought is to keep your receipts from the store. Shoeboxes work great for this. So do smartphone cameras and a folder on your hard drive. There are also mobile apps that track receipts for you, and may even try to OCR the data for you.

protected by Chris W. Rea Dec 20 '17 at 0:38

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