Online retail always surges around the holidays, and with the frantic purchasing of gifts come the inevitable deluge of email receipts. It’s all too easy for them to slip unnoticed into the recesses of your inbox, but a new service called OneReceipt aims to aggregate and track those receipts so users will be able to see exactly what their money is being spent on.
At first, OneReceipt sounds a bit like Mint since they both track purchases. OneReceipt co-founder Sam Fine isn’t thrilled with the comparison — he says Mint is more of a “balance sheet” and isn’t very indicative of what exactly a users money gets spent on. OneReceipt takes a bit of a different approach: it pulls receipt data from email accounts linked with the service, so it serves not only as a tracker for where user money is spent, but on the types of products that are being purchased.
In fairness, OneReceipt is entering a market where a few impressive companies have already staked their claim. Rival Lemon also tracks email receipts, and has a nifty smartphone app that allows users to snap photos of their paper receipts before tossing them in the trash. Eric Schmidt-backed Slice also tracks receipts by connecting to email accounts, but focuses less on financial transparency and more on product logistics.
Unlike Lemon, OneReceipt focuses on pulling receipt data from different sources rather than making the user set things up manually. During my brief time with OneReceipt, I linked up three separate Gmail accounts to the service, all associated with different types of purchases. OneReceipt was able to pull all the receipts from each account and display them in a timeline view. There were a few hiccups — a pair of tickets to see the final Harry Potter movie showed up at the top of my timeline despite buying them in July — but the rest of the data seemed spot-on.
Fine sees OneReceipt in its current form as a starting point for users looking to get control over their spending. He figures that all of the receipt data that OneReceipt pulls in is only half of the equation — users will have to get in the habit of adding their paper receipt info by sending a picture of the receipt to their @onereceipt email address. OneReceipt hopes to streamline that paper handling process with the addition of smartphone and mobile web apps to their arsenal, which I’m told will see the light of day in coming weeks.
Aggregating receipts is only the beginning for OneReceipt — co-founder Sam Fine told me that the company is looking at providing special purchasing offers based on user spending patterns. It seems like a bit of an odd mix: I’ve been using OneReceipt as a way to track how much useless junk I’ve been buying and don’t need the temptation to buy even more, but the functionality could certainly come in handy for some.
OneReceipt has just finished up their private beta, and is now open to the public. Using OneReceipt costs nothing, but Fine and his team are looking at offering premium solutions for small and mid-sized business down the road.