What is a Cash Receipt?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

A cash receipt is a simple document showing proof of a transaction that is often issued at the time of the completion of a sale. Many businesses issue such receipts as a matter of course. While the printed document is normally a simple record of the transaction, some examples can be very detailed.

A receipt shows proof of a purchase transaction.
A receipt shows proof of a purchase transaction.

In general, a cash receipt serves two purposes. First, the document serves as a permanent record for the vendor. It allows for the orderly posting of sales on a daily basis, as well as providing a document that can be used in adjusting current inventory levels. Second, the receipt provides the customer with a permanent record of the transaction that can be employed to keep the financial records of the client up to date.

With the digital age, many online merchants offer an electronic receipt.
With the digital age, many online merchants offer an electronic receipt.

In many retail environments, receipts are issued with the aid of a print feature on a cash register. The vendor totals the items that are purchased by the customer, adds any applicable taxes, and records the cash received from the client. If change is due, the document usually makes note of the amount of the refund to the customer. Because most cash registers today produce two records of the sale, both the vendor and the client have a permanent record of the transaction.

A cashier makes change for a customer before printing a receipt.
A cashier makes change for a customer before printing a receipt.

The advent of Internet shopping has led to the creation of electronic receipts as well. Many online businesses provide the client with the option of printing a record of the transaction as soon as the payment is approved. In addition, it is not uncommon for the vendor to provide an email copy of the cash receipt as well, often including the details of the sale in the body of the email.

Many businesses offer emailed receipts to customers.
Many businesses offer emailed receipts to customers.

Just about every receipt will include basic information about the nature of the sale. This essential detail will include the date of the transaction, a list of the prices of the items purchased, a subtotal, applicable taxes, and a final total. Some forms will also provide unit prices and extended prices when multiple units of the same item are purchased, as well as a detailed description of each item.

Restaurants typically offer receipts as a matter of course.
Restaurants typically offer receipts as a matter of course.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


Thanks for all the great advice. I need to find some cash registers in Calgary for my new business.


I find the cash receipt format to be helpful. I always like to know what day I purchased something on, and sometimes, knowing what time I was at the store can help me, too.

There have even been times when I've looked at old cash receipts to get a store's phone number. It's handy to keep these around, because they contain so much information.

It's always good to glance over them before tossing them aside, because some cash receipts offer you a chance to enter a contest to win money. You have to visit a website to enter by a certain date, and it's easy to miss this date if you don't skim over the receipt when you get it.

Also, some receipts include coupons at the bottom. I've used many coupons that were attached to receipts that I almost didn't even notice were there.


If you pay for something with a debit or credit card, is the receipt still called a cash receipt? I've always just called them receipts, but I'm wondering if there is such a thing as a debit receipt.

I keep all my receipts, because I never pay cash for anything. I have to keep track of my debit purchases so that I don't drain my bank account.


@OeKc05 – I've noticed that before. My roommate and I have puzzled over items on cash receipts in the past, and we can usually narrow it down by thinking of everything we bought and checking the items off.

You can learn things you never knew from cash receipts, too. For example, I had no idea that fast food restaurants charged a dine-in tax until I saw it on a receipt once. It blew my mind that they would actually charge you more to eat there, when they don't even send a waitress out to your table or anything!


Sometimes the items listed on a cash receipt are labeled in such a way that makes it hard to tell what they were. I've read through my grocery receipt before and saw several items that were abbreviated and contained no vowels, and it was impossible for me to figure out what they were.


BrickBack-Good point- I also want to add that a cash receipt is often necessary when one wants to take advantage of a warranty that a product offers.

For example, I purchased a plasma T.V. at Best Buy, but after only four months it was not functioning properly.

Since I kept my receipt and purchased the warranty, they made a few attempts at repairing the television set.

When they could not repair the television set, they offered me my money back so that I could buy another television. I bought another one at Best Buy, but this one was a well known brand name television set.


Cash receipts are often required when returning merchandise to a retailer or when one takes advantage of a manufacturer’s rebate.

Most stores require a cash receipt in order to receive cash back. If a cash receipt is not offered than the customer might be offered a merchandise credit or a merchandise exchange option.

For rebates, it is mandatory to offer a cash receipt. This is the way the manufacturer verifies that the purchase was made during the promotion period. It also tells the manufacturer that the correct item was purchased.

At Staples, a customer is given an extra receipt with directions on how to process the rebate. Without the cash receipt, it is nearly impossible for the customer to obtain the rebate.

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