UX Writing Challenge | Day 9: Expired Card

This is part of the 15-day UX Writing Challenge presented by Daily UX Writing.

Scenario: The user is trying to rent a car using an application but the credit card on file has expired.

Challenge: Write them an error message so that they can correct the problem.

Headline: 30 characters
Body: 45 characters

Task & Goals

If you’ve ever shopped online, you may come across this situation at least once. You’ve done extensive research on a product you’ve been wanting to buy for some time. You finally convinced yourself that it’s time to pull the trigger and press Purchase. But when you finally do, you get an error message saying your card has been declined. What gives??

So you’re asked to verify your card information and once you’ve found the issue, you resolve it and finally finish your purchase.

Our goal is to replicate this scenario and inform the user that their card has expired.

Concept & Ideas

It’s important that when handling sensitive user information such as credit cards, we have to prioritize user privacy. While this task may seem as simple as writing “Card has expired, please enter a valid expiration date”, this may not be good practice.

Like login credentials, we often tell the user that the password and email (or phone number or username) combination as a whole is incorrect. We rarely tell them if it’s just their password.

We should apply this logic to credit cards as well. However, since entering credit card information can be tedious, credit card pages often tell the user which information is inaccurate.

However, when we’re not on that page, we should just let the user know that there’s an issue with their card and they can see the exact issue when they arrive at the appropriate page.

Since our copy pertains to an error message outside of the card information page, we should see something like this:

Headline: Payment Issue
Body: Invalid card information. Please update.

The headline tells the user right away that their order can’t be completed because there’s an issue with the payment process.

In the body, we tell them more specifically that the issue pertains to their card. Remember, we’re not telling them that their card has expired because of privacy concerns. They will see that exact issue when they go onto the page that holds their credit card information.*

*Note: It would also help the user if there’s a button that takes them directly to the credit card page so that they can fix the issue.

Here’s what the final copy would look like:

I know that this task didn’t ask for a button nor did it ask for us to write a Credit Card Information page, but it didn’t feel right if we didn’t provide a complete solution to the user.

Conclusion

When it comes to handling sensitive information such as credit cards, we have to be cautious about the information we’re revealing. It made sense for me to not tell the user that their credit card had expired at the pop-up notification because specific information like that should only be seen in the Credit Card Information page.

While this is ultimately a decision for the product managers and the stakeholders, this is my take on how we can balance user privacy and still provide them with enough information on the issue.

Let me know how you’d tackle this challenge and what you think I can improve on. Looking forward to seeing your awesome ideas!

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