This has puzzled me for some time. I am wondering what is the german word used for "receipt" when used in a transaction for instance, when paying for a drink in a german pub, which word is written on top of the receipt? Searching in the online pons dictionary I found both the words Quittung and Beleg with no striking difference, so, do they mean the same in this context?

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    You usually ask for the Rechnung in a restaurant or pub: "Wir hätten gerne die Rechnung, bitte." Commented Jan 6, 2019 at 20:44
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    In der Kneipe ist die Frage nach einem Beleg für einen Drink eher ungewöhnlich. Ansonsten erhält man von Kassensystemen i.d.R. nur einen Bon, eine kurzen Beleg ohne Angabe des Kundennamens. Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 3:20

2 Answers 2


Beleg has a broader meaning than Quittung.

A Quittung is a written confirmation that a payment or some other benefit has been received. There is also a verb quittieren, which stands for writing a Quittung.

Beleg comes from belegen (to prove). A Beleg is a document that proves something. A Quittung is a Beleg, but a Beleg doesn't have to be a Quittung. For example, an invoice can serve as a Beleg (that some goods have been delivered or some service has been provided) but it's not a Quittung because it's written by the provider and not by the recipient.

  • There are further forms to specify the Beleg: Zahlungsbeleg or Rechnungsbeleg. Commented Jan 6, 2019 at 20:43
  • As you mention "quittieren", it should also be noted that "quittieren" can be used in quite a wider sense than "writing a Quitting". I'd consider "quittieren" roughly synonymous with "zur Kenntnis nehmen" ("to acknowledge"). "Quitting" can also be used in a figurative sense (not referring to a piece of writing), but that figurative usage stays much closer to the general concept of a "Quitting" IMHO than the verb "quittieren". Commented Jan 6, 2019 at 22:09
  • In "den Dienst quittieren" steht es aber nicht für "zur Kenntnis nehmen", sondern für abschließen. Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 3:15
  • @userunknown: Stimmt, die Bedeutung gibt es auch noch. Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 14:31

As mentioned in the comment by "infinitezero", you will ask for the "Rechnung" in a restaurant or pub. You will also get a "Rechnung" in case of buying more expensive items in a shop.

The term "Rechnung" has different meanings depending on the law in which context it is used. In general, most trades require that a "Rechnung" is printed and handed over to the customer. In this terminology, each "Quittung" or "Kassabeleg" must have a unique fiscal identifier in austria (a QR code). Then it can be seen as "Rechnung". In addition, Austrian law and I assume it's very similar in Germany, the clerks define minimum requirements for a "Rechnung" in terms of V.A.T. laws, (e.g. a unique number, address and name of both seller and buyer). This case of "Rechnung" I would translate to "invoice". If you pay cash, then the "Rechnung" is standalone with text remark "paid with cash". If you pay with credit/debit card, the "Quittung" (voucher / receipt for payment) is separately printed and in many cases stapled with the invoice.

But for smaller things you will just get a "Quittung", "Beleg" or "Kassenbeleg" (receipt) which is printed directly from the casher's desk often w/o having payment or buyer information. In some situations this receipt contains all the formal requirements of an invoice, and then the "Beleg" is a "Rechnung".

  • But especially in a restaurant or pub, asking for the "Rechnung" will, at first, often just get you a sheet of paper with a hand-written addition of the individual items and the sum you have to pay. Presumably, it's only after that that you get something printed (and I'd probably ask for a "Beleg" then), for instance, if you expect to get reimbursed by someone else for the expenses and need some proof. Commented Jan 6, 2019 at 22:14

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