Erroring when asking an unnecessary question (Asking a user to select their credit card type)

Posted on Jan 5, 2015

If you know anything about online payments, then you know that certain card types start with certain numbers. e.g. MasterCard cards start with 5, and visa start with 4.

If a user starts entering 5xxx then you’ll know its a MasterCard card.

As an example of poor user experience I discovered recently when paying online, I was asked to select my card type and my enter my card number. As i was already tabbing through the fields I entered my card number first and then went back to select my card type.

I accidentally selected “visa” and was told that my entry was incorrect.

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Why this is a problem

  • There is no need to ask a user to select their card type. The system can figure this out from the number they enter,
  • It creates one extra click for the user which is unnecessary

How to fix it

  • Remove the need to select a card type when filling in credit card details
  • Automatically show the user what card type they have entered. Although I doubt that its even useful, and is probably legacy practice that this website, and probably countless others haven’t questioned.