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What is the best form label to use for the credit card expiry date (during a checkout process on an eCommerce website)?

I've done some research and noticed that some sites use 'Expiration date' and others use 'Expiry date'.

Which is better from a UX perspective do you think?

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1  
I have 3 cards, all three say "Expires End" on them. Personally I would use this. –  bendataclear May 30 '13 at 16:14
    
Mine (in Australia) say 'UNTIL END' and 'Valid Thru'. Where are you based? UK? –  James Spittal May 30 '13 at 22:15
    
This seems more like a language question--and potentially region-based. –  DA01 May 31 '13 at 4:52
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or be humorous and use "best before" ;) –  jwenting May 31 '13 at 5:41

6 Answers 6

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I found an interesting trend: "Expiry" is a UK style and "Expiration" is an American style.*

Personally, I tend to use the terms interchangeably and unless your users are limited to any one of the two countries, you should be fine.

[*] - Both words exist in both languages UK English and US English, it is just the prevalent usage that is seemingly a bit skewed.

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The term to use should be "Expiry date".

Although the terms expiry and expiration are mostly interchangeable, the term 'expiration' has a primary meaning of breathing out or death.

The term 'expiry' however has a primary meaning of 'termination', especially the termination of a time or period fixed by law, contract, or agreement.

Some sources claim that 'expiry' is UK English, while 'expiration' is US English, but I have found little evidence of that, as the definitions that I have given hold in both the American and British dictionaries that I have checked.

TL;DR:
'Expiration' = death
'Expiry' = end of validity

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I see the exact opposite description of Expiration and Expiry too ;) bit.ly/177iKmz –  rk. May 30 '13 at 12:09
    
@rk. As I said, they are mostly interchangeable, but expiration has a meaning of death or breathing out, which expiry does not. It's a nuanced answer, not an absolute definition until the English language gets a standardising body :) –  JohnGB May 30 '13 at 13:01
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In my region of the world, nobody ever uses the word "Expiry." When referring to the end of a product's usefulness or validity, the term "expiration date" is used exclusively... unless the speaker has a British accent. –  mawcsco May 30 '13 at 14:03

You could sidestep the issue by abbreviating it to “Exp. Date”.

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Interesting idea. –  James Spittal Jun 1 '13 at 5:23

UX is not for UX itself, but for getting business goals. The main business goal is to get money, so if your form is understandable by users – stop UX loops here.

The best solution is to provide visual cue for user while filling the form. If your even don't understand the language you can still guess what they want from you.

enter image description here

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+1 for the interesting screenshot. Does the arrow change place as you select other fields? –  James Spittal Jun 6 '13 at 22:17
    
James, sorry for misleading, actually when user enters the field the appropriate area on the card image is highlighted providing cue. It is clear while interacting but for static picture I've added this arrow. –  Alexey Kolchenko Jun 7 '13 at 3:00
    
Ah! I see. Makes sense. The image highlights the credit card field when you select that field and it selects the name when you select the name. Very nice! –  James Spittal Jun 7 '13 at 4:05

I would go with the more explicit one 'Expiration Date' since this clearly states what the user is expected to enter. It also depends on what country the buyer is from. 'Expiry date' seems to be associated with food (see below).

http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/expiry-date

http://www.wordreference.com/enfr/expiry%20date

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The solution I've come up with:

  1. Detect the client's IP address based upon an API that provides excellent accuracy.
  2. If the client's country is 'AU' or 'UK' => display 'Expiry Date'.
  3. If the client's country is 'US' => display 'Expiration Date'
  4. Any other country - default to 'Expiration Date'. (I could be more granular than this, but most of our customers are US/AU/UK)

Interestingly enough, the Baymard Institute (who's research I greatly respect in the area of checkout/ecommerce) seem to prefer the 'Expiration Date' but don't make any mention to specific research in the area.

If you do a Google search on their site for 'expiration date', it appears 13 times - whereas 'expiry date' only appears twice. They also have several articles that refer to it as 'Expiration Date':

http://baymard.com/blog/how-to-format-expiration-date-fields

Note: I suspect this tweak would be a fairly minor win from a UX point of view, but I'll report back if/when I launch an A/B test on it.

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1  
If you're going to use this solution, you're better off using the browser's ACCEPT-LANGUAGE header. This will give you a much better idea of the locale configured on the local device, regardless of the physical locality of the device. British speakers visiting your site on their phone would probably still prefer British English, even when they're travelling. stackoverflow.com/questions/673905/… –  mawcsco Jun 5 '13 at 14:38
    
Interesting point. Thanks. I'll keep that in mind. –  James Spittal Jun 5 '13 at 23:24

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