Usability Tip: Support different amount format

What is the difference between 1450 and 1450.0? Nothing. But for one online banking website, there is.

I was paying our electrical bill when BPI Express Online complained there are “possible errors” in my input. Good thing it tells me to check “Payment Amount” and “Additional Reference Number”. I already suspect that it is something to do with the payment amount so I decided to include a decimal point and a zero, which BPI happily accepts.

If you are building an online payment application, support the different ways a person could enter an amount. Using my experience as an example, your application should accept the following values:

  • 1450
  • 1450.0
  • 1450.00
  • 1,450
  • 1,450.0
  • 1,450.00

Including commas? Yes, because that is how amounts are printed in the real world. Copying how things are done in the real world is one way to make people happy in the online world. Also, your visitors will definitely review the amount they entered before they hit the “Pay” button. Commas help us recognize the amount faster and more accurately; it helps our brain recognize the values.

You can also make your website more resilient to error by allowing a decimal place at the end or spaces after the comma.

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