• Credit Card Expiration Dates

    To carry out a successful online transaction using your credit card, it is of utmost importance to enter each detail correctly. Especially the expiration date of the card. Multiple surveys and various studies have shown that customers struggle a lot to comprehend expiration date fields. This usually happened in cases where the values are formatted differently on the eCommerce website from that of the original credit card. The best solution to make things easier for customers, and avoid confusion is to, ideally, format the expiration date values on various eCommerce websites just as they are formatted on the most popular and prevalent credit cards.

    Fortunately, most of the extremely popular eCommerce portals have chosen two optimal ways of formatting the expiration date fields, in tandem with majority of the credit cards in the market.

    The best way to format expiration date field on E-Commerce portals

    The most ideal way to format the date/month/year field is to move to using just numbers instead of words. Prefixing single digit numbers with a zero ‘0’ increases accuracy and avoids confusion. For instance, February 2014 becomes – 02/14.

    As different credit card issuers print expiration dates differently, it is not possible to match every single card present in the market, hence the primary goal should be to be match the most popular and majority of these credit cards. These credits cards have the MM/YY format or MM-YY format, embossed, in mostly golden or silver colour, numerically. This makes it easily identifiable, and the customer can enter the correct values (corresponding month and year) as mentioned on the card on to the computer screen, with utmost ease.

    Another acceptable way of listing the expiration date format could be: the month name can be included as long as it comes after the numerical value of the same i.e ‘07 – July’. The users didn’t show any difficulty in understanding when the month name was suffixed after its numerical value. With the digits coming before the name of the month, it makes it easily readable and identifiable by the customers helping them to choose the correct option instantly.

    Inclusion of some minute details can make the expiration date fields more user- friendly and further improve its design. Adding labels below the date fields to actually state the value they represent can be very helpful. There are some popular credit cards that have tiny “Month” and “Year” labels printed above or below the expiration date digits. This is beneficial because it helps in avoiding any confusion in terms of which field represents what; in this case months and years.

    The don’ts of formatting the field of expiration date

    To achieve the purpose of matching a typical credit card formatting, usage of month names (in words) should avoided. A numerical representation of the same seems more logical. The number of digits representing the year should ideally stick to two instead of four. The reason being that the most popular credit cards have the expiration date represented numerically i.e printed as numbers, hence the best way to design/format the expiration date field is only by pure numerical representation, i.e to show only numbers. This highly simplifies things for the customer by reducing confusion. Cases of misreading can also be avoided by adopting this method as customers can conveniently verify the value printed on the physical card against the one typed on screen.

    Surveys have gone on to show that during most e-commerce checkout test sessions maximum customers/online users when came across a “month name only” drop-down, they started counting the month on their fingers. This was to make sure that the ‘07’ month mentioned on the credit card whether correctly translated to ‘July’, if that was to be entered on the computer screen. This pattern is not just limited to laptop users, in the recent times mobile app users have also started showing the same behavioural pattern.

    The perfect layout

    To make the expiration date layout absolutely impeccable and user-friendly, either a dash (-) or a forward slash (/) can be added between the two fields. This is also the most prevalent credit card design. It will ensure a further resemblance between the values printed on the eCommerce website and the design on the customer’s physical credit card.

    Occurrence of credit card frauds and skimming

    Giving your credit card details like card number, expiration date, etc. to unknown Various credit card issuers and payment card networks; the most popular being MasterCard, Visa, MasterCard and American Express, extend anti-fraud services like One time Password, secure pin, special verification passwords, etc. You should ensure that you deal with reputed eCommerce website/stores and use a secure merchant site. Always check that your browser is in the secure mode before entering your password and other credit card details. Please say a big NO to websites which give "free access" on providing your credit card number to them. This can be highly unsafe and risky. Also, on giving this number, it is likely that your card is will be charged by that company (the one that you have given it to), and these companies may be unknown to you, leading your card to a risky transaction.

    strangers and individuals mostly lead to fraudulent activities using your card. Frauds can also result under the following circumstances –

    • Loss or theft of card
    • When criminals divert emails (containing credit card details) from the intended recipients to themselves
    • When the card and card numbers of a certain user is copied by someone.

    Credit card skimming means when criminals or frauds make an unauthorised copy of a credit card. This is done by using a device that especially duplicates and copies all the relevant/sensitive information from the original card to a database that stores this information for conducting fraudulent transactions. Small machines called skimmers are used for this purpose. These machines read all the sensitive information from credit cards, capture it and forward it to frauds and criminals. These frauds in turn create duplicate cards and use it to indulge in transactions over the phone or the internet.

    How to ensure protection of your credit cards when doing online transactions

    Various credit card issuers and payment card networks; the most popular being MasterCard, Visa, MasterCard and American Express, extend anti-fraud services like One time Password, secure pin, special verification passwords, etc. You should ensure that you deal with reputed eCommerce website/stores and use a secure merchant site. Always check that your browser is in the secure mode before entering your password and other credit card details. Please say a big NO to websites which give "free access" on providing your credit card number to them. This can be highly unsafe and risky. Also, on giving this number, it is likely that your card is will be charged by that company (the one that you have given it to), and these companies may be unknown to you, leading your card to a risky transaction.

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