How to orient your credit card

I entered my credit card the right way on the first try this morning. I think this new diagram had a lot to do with it:

Credit card diagram

I don’t understand why the white diagram works so well. From the perspective of the diagram, you are looking up at the credit card slot, and the keypad had a completely different perspective. But it does work. I guess this is why testing is so important.

The most usable credit card slot holder would be one that could accept your credit card in any orientation, or a credit card with four magnetic strips. I don’t think that’ll happen any time soon.

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5 thoughts on “How to orient your credit card

  1. Bjoern

    I just wonder? Is this a real ATM or is it a Test-ATM that you modify yourself? If it is a real ATM then a diagram like this, that has been fixed with clear tape, that has been cut out bad, would ring my alarm as it might be part of an ATM scam?!
    Maybe the ATM has been altered to scan and copy your card data etc..

    In the past I had been working for Mastercard in Germany and so I know a bit about ATM scam… so I’m a bit paranoid in this direction. But if it is a normal/real ATM I would be cautious.

    P.S.: I like your blog. Just found it the last days via HN.
    P.P.S.: The is something wrong with the comment section. I had to “Tab” to the fields to send you this. ;) I was not able to click on the form fields, the bug is in Chrome and FF4.

    1. kevin Post author

      Hey Bjoern,
      This is a real ATM at the BART (the Bay Area commuter train). And no, my best guess is that it wasn’t an ATM scam, just someone who got tired of watching people enter in their credit cards the wrong way, but without the budget to fix it (my guess). The same diagram was on every ATM/ticket machine and even at other stations. So either every BART customer is getting scammed or it’s an official thing.

      Also, you were right that the comments section was broken – I forgot to clear a div in my custom styles :( It’s fixed now.


      1. Bjoern

        Well, ok…didn’t know that the stickers are everywhere. Hard to check from nearly the other side of the planet. ;) But if they are everywhere than it’s very likely not a scam but you never know. It was just an idea, striking me when I saw the picture. Never mind. Didn’t meant to upset anyone or to false alarm the police. But I guess better check one time to often than one time too little.

  2. MicronXD

    It may have something to do with the fact that most people are right handed. It could also be that the strip in the drawing is on the right, and the strip is meant to go in the right side of the slot. Maybe a combination of the two. I’d be curious to see what a left-handed person would instinctively do. Perhaps they’d read the intended perspective wrong, and assume that the hand in the drawing is a left hand and the view is looking top-down. *shrugs*

  3. Sam Jackson

    I’ve discovered a related issue recently, which is that some debit/credit cards no longer have their identifying information on the front, or have limited it, because they want to be really cool. This is true with my Chase Sapphire Pref (metal, name etc on back) and my ING debit card (no identifying information or even number on the front).

    As a result it actually won’t work in some situations like old-school taxis where they want to take an imprint of the card, since there isn’t anything to imprint… and even if it was on the right side, it wouldn’t make an impression, since it isn’t raised up in the usual way!

    I don’t really blame the providers, of course… the rest of the world just needs to move forward and catch up. Making plastic/metal/cards obsolete altogether obviously being the next step.


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