Hacked Gadgets Forum

May 10, 2009

Digital Paperless Receipt System

at 12:28 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Computer Hacks, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


Keeping track of paper receipts is a pain. I have lost a few here and there and later needed them to get warranty work done. Some stores are starting to offer receipt re-printing based on your credit card number but you would still need to go back to the store and wait in line for the re-print. It would be great if all your receipts were automatically stored in one central location. That is the concept of this Digital Paperless Receipt System prototype by Hain-Lee Hsueh and Qinfeng Chen.

"The basic idea is when making a purchase with a credit or ATM card, the transaction information is automatically packaged and sent to a webserver where it can be logged in a database. A web interface would then allow consumers to log into their accounts and view their transactions online all in one place.

The general procedure of operating the system is as follows:

  1. The “cashier” uses the keypad to enter an amount to be charged, which is displayed on the LCD display.
  2. After the amount is entered, the “consumer” is prompted to swipe his/her credit card through the stripe reader.
  3. The MCU receives the decoded data from the stripe reader and parses it to extract the desired data most relevant to the transaction (e.g. the consumer’s first and last name). It also parses the amount entered on the keypad and builds a packet containing all the information pertaining to the current transaction.
  4. The MCU sends the data to the Ethernet module, which sends the transaction information to a PHP script, and then waits for the response.
  5. The PHP script takes the data and stores it in a database. A response is sent back to the Ethernet module containing the result (success or failure).
  6. The Ethernet module receives the response and passes it to the MCU. A confirmation/status message is displayed on the LCD to the consumer, and the process starts again for the next transaction."


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12 Responses to “Digital Paperless Receipt System”

  1. Random Says:

    And when my credit card gets replaced (it does ever xx years), or if its lost.. bye bye warranty.

  2. Mike Says:


  3. gena Says:

    This is sooo much cooler than that harp thingy!

  4. H41n Lee luv3r Says:

    the guy in the vid is so hot!

  5. Ethan Says:

    Given how paranoid some people are these days, I seriously doubt that they would want this kind of information stored in a central database.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great idea, but I can’t see it becoming mainstream.

  6. Hain-Lee Says:


    I can see what you’re saying. The prototype I developed is super insecure and is just proof of concept. Start ups like myreceipts.com and alletronic.com are already trying to promote such a system though (I’m assuming they have secure ways of sending and storing the information), so we’ll see how they do I guess.

  7. EllisGL Says:

    If you could make it work with Mint.com…..

  8. Circuit DIY - How to Make a Digital Paperless Receipt System! | zedomax.com - The DIY, HOW TO, Hacks, Gadgets, and Tech Blog/Search Engine! Says:

    […] via hackedgadgets […]

  9. invenTHOR Says:

    I had the same idea 5 years ago. Did not find a plausible way to capitalize the system though….. Spoke to several marketing/innovation companies, but no success:(

  10. Jose Says:

    I also had this same idea a long time ago, actually it was my sister’s idea but as I’m the engineer in the family I did the research, actually I was thinking not to store invoces in a central database but in a portable device like the same credit card or usb stick so the user can take it with it after purchase.

  11. Purusa Says:

    Hi Hain LEe…please help me…I’m from Indonesia, I’m sorry if my english is not good…
    I’m doing your project as my school projects. But when I download keypad.c, there is error. The error say there is no keypad.c in your server. Can you give me the complete code,so I can make my school projects. Please… I’m so confuse right now… You can send the complete code to my email at purusa_sukma@yahoo.com T_T Thank you for your help Hain Lee.

  12. Digital Paperless Receipt System | PyroElectro - News, Projects & Tutorials Says:

    […] and view their transactions online all in one place.” Take a look at how it is made. PyroFactor: Read Permalink  |   Email This […]

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