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The name on card is not used when processing credit card payments. Paypal does not ask the user to enter the name on card when saving a card to the "wallet", while Amazon.com does.

The benefit of asking for it is that the user can feel more "secure" because we are asking for more details. With out the name on card field, the user might think: Hey, does that mean anyone can just grab my card number and the expiration and they can use it? This is taking into account the fact that CCVs and Address Verification can be turned off by the merchant.

The obvious advantage of not having the name on card field is that it's faster. 1 less field to fill in is always better when it comes to form design.

Should we ask for the name on card when users are paying/storing credit card details?


As an aside: We do not plan to store any of the card holder details and billing addresses in our system at the moment (that will happen when be grow to be a huge company and that becomes cost effective and feasible ;)). These will all be stored with the payment processor and details will be passed using direct post/transparent redirect, so that they never ever hit our server.

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Doesn't Paypal use the name on your account for the name, even if you don't enter it for each card? –  JohnGB Dec 27 '12 at 6:02
    
One more example of placebos in UI design –  Erics Dec 27 '12 at 7:27
    
@JohnGB: Yes, paypal uses your account name. But the name on card can be different. I have seen cases where cards are issued to Mr John Z Smith where as in paypal, you can have John Smith as the account name. I have also made transactions (paypal checkouts) where I enter the card on the spot and used a card that did not belong to me and there wasn't anyway to fill in the card holder name. –  F21 Dec 27 '12 at 7:36
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I do believe Amazon asks (and store) for a cardholder name not only for security reasons but also to easily distinguish one card from another since they show up just 4 last digits of the card number: it's easy to remember the name than expiration date, etc, if you have several cards in your family associated with a single amazon account. –  alexeypegov Dec 27 '12 at 7:55
    
@alexeypegov: That's a good point :) –  F21 Dec 27 '12 at 8:26

3 Answers 3

More often that not, what you have to store is determined by your payment processor and so you usually have very little say in the matter. When you do, the general rule for security is to only store what you absolutely have to. The less information you store, the lower your security risk, and the less information customers have to enter (in general) the better your conversion rates.

So if you don't need the name, or it provides no additional benefit from you provider, then don't require it. However, I know of at least one case where requiring more information on a form resulted in a better conversion (although this wasn't for payment details). So, as always, you should test this hypothesis with your customers.


As an aside, I prefer to always use a payment provider that stores any information that is needed. That way I don't have to deal with any of the legal compliance issues and the accompanying liability.

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I would imagine that it would be at the least slightly beneficial to your professional image to ask for the card holder's name as many potential customers are already expecting to answer this question. All in all I would agree that it is another potential vulnerability to even store the name in the first place.

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A few things things to consider:

  • Having the name can help with sorting out some kinds of credit card fraud offline. You can usually call the card issuer directly and validate that the name, card number and address match for example.

  • Some folk use the name as a way to filter out some kinds of pre-payment credit cards (like visa gift cards) that don't have a name. There are better ways of doing this - but it's a way.

  • You sometimes need the cardholder name for other parts of the system (e.g. receipts)

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