Unless you have a very specific and excellent reason for not wanting or needing one, you should always ask for a security deposit receipt. Depending on how you pay for a security deposit, you may not have any record that you paid a deposit without such a receipt. This receipt will also help you demonstrate, if necessary, that not only did you make a payment, but that it was specifically accepted by the company to which you have made the payment. You should also typically keep the security deposit receipt until the period of time over which the deposit is in effect has passed and any business with that company is concluded.
A security deposit receipt is a document that demonstrates you have paid a security deposit required by a particular business or service. This deposit may be refundable, wholly or in part, depending on the terms of the agreement you have with the business. There are a number of different businesses and services that may require such a deposit, including apartment owners and hardware rental businesses. You should ask for and keep a security deposit receipt, however, regardless of whether the deposit can be refunded to you or applied toward future payment.
Whenever possible, you should try to pay for a security deposit using a method that will provide you with evidence that you made the payment. Using a check or credit card are both fairly effective, since there is paperwork involved with a company accepting payment of either type. This will only prove that you made a payment to someone, however, so receiving a security deposit receipt can be crucial to demonstrating that the payment was made to a particular business. Even a business that is run ethically could potentially lose the payment; having a security deposit receipt demonstrates that you made the payment regardless of its claims.
Once you receive a security deposit receipt, then you should keep that receipt until your business with that company is concluded and the deposit is resolved. If the deposit is returned to you after a certain period of time, for example, then you should keep the receipt until you have received the deposit back and verified that you received the correct amount. In some instances, you may need to present the security deposit receipt to have your deposit refunded, making it even more important. Depending on the nature of the receipt, you may also wish to keep it for your own paperwork and financial records.