Credit card expiration dates should conform to standards

My credit card says it expires “06/07″. What is that? Is it June 2007, or July 2006? You may think I’m being silly, but it confuses me. I’m not as smart as some people, but if it confuses me, it’s gonna confuse some others too.

expires WHEN???

I recently placed an order online and got the expiration date wrong. It wouldn’t have been all that bad if the entry form had mimicked exactly what’s on the front of my card, but the online form had a 4-digit year pulldown, followed by a two-digit space for the month – exactly the opposite order from my card. As a result, my card didn’t go through and the order became a big hassle. Yuck!

All this could have been avoided if the expiration date were specified as YYYY-MM. Is there a reason not to do this? Maybe the machines that stamp the cards would have to be replaced in order to change the dates, I don’t know. Regardless, it’s confusing for poor little me.

This won’t get any better until 2013, when two-digit years will be distinguishable from months. Alas.

Hey you credit card companies, why don’t you use ISO-8601 date formats?

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I'm Baron Schwartz, the founder and CEO of VividCortex. I am the author of High Performance MySQL and lots of open-source software for performance analysis, monitoring, and system administration. I contribute to various database communities such as Oracle, PostgreSQL, Redis and MongoDB. More about me.