Our application runs on servers that might sit in another country. They will process money transfers from banks and each transfer might origin by a different user from a different country. The transaction will gather rules, audits, notes, and other information along the way, and each will have its date and time.

I have a problem deciding which timezone to show the user.

The back end (processing information) will be kept in UTC to make everything simple, but is it common to display UTC to users?

Also, we have multiple dates and date&time fields on our forms (for example: create date&time, processing date&time, settlement date&time, credit date, debit date...)

Should we translate the date&time to the user timezone always? Should we show UTC?

Any help will be great, Thanks

  • 1
    Allow the user to select the time zone displayed, but default to what you can determine is the user's "home" zone. – Jeff Zeitlin Apr 26 at 13:16

It is very technical to show UTC to users. Nobody really knows their offset to the UTC timezone, so I would suggest showing all times in the user's local time zone (Running some javascript in the user's browser seems to do just that https://stackoverflow.com/questions/1091372/getting-the-clients-time-zone-and-offset-in-javascript).

I would always translate times into the user's timezone. But maybe you also want to show the timezone of origin of an event. E.g. I am sending you 5€ at night in my local time. The information when the money was sent might be interesting to the user.


I think you should think from a users' perspective. What does it make more sense for your users? Me, as a user, I always compare times with my own timezone and when I check a transaction history I want to see the time when that happened and if I did that transaction.

  • If I see a transaction in the list that was made at 3am my time, I'm pretty sure that was not me.
  • If I see a transaction in a UTC time and have to calculate what was that time for me, I already lost some time of reaction to claim a refund or mark it as suspicious.
  • Correct, so the user will want to see their time but there are many cases that users are not sitting where the messages are processed and their timezone might even advance dates (at some times). So sometimes Users will need to see the "office" time and sometimes their time... so it gets confusing even more... – user142466 Apr 29 at 13:12
  • I would still display the time for the user in their local timezone. As a user, I don't care what is the time there where the payment is processed, I'm interested to see the time in my local time to be able to measure it :) Imagine measuring time in one timezone + adapting it to your local timezone. If this is something relevant for the user, you can display time in 2 time zones too (users & where the transactions is happening). I would still treat the user time zone as primary information. – Lonut Apr 29 at 14:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.