Testing Checkout Without Using Your Own Credit Card

Don’t use your personal credit card when test credit cards abound!

Proper revenue recording is a critical piece of analytics implementation and testing, but I’m always surprised how few vendors and analysts seem to be aware of the publicly available test credit numbers that are available for use. I’ve heard too many instances of people using their own (real!) cards and then cancelling the purchase, or even actually buying things from the site for test purposes. That’s fine if you actually want to make a purchase, but given the amount of test scenarios required, that can become an expensive habit quickly.

Payment processors typically accept a standard suite of test credit cards that will allow an order to go through on the site, but that are flagged after the fact as a test card and the order is not fulfilled. If you are doing this on production versions of the site, be forewarned that this can impact your order-related metrics both in the analytics platform (artificially increase them provided your IP isn’t blocked in the platform you are validating in) and increase error rates in order management systems since this (as intended) won’t actually go through. It is also true that certain sites are configured to not accept test credit cards in their production instance, so you may receive an error; however, the majority of sites will allow these to be used.

With those caveats out of the way, allow me to introduce you to the standard suite of test cards:

https://stripe.com/docs/testing

This is one of the best resources out there and includes many different scenarios and international cards as well.

The testing procedure is as follows:

  • Go through the normal process to add items to your cart and proceed to checkout
  • For the name, it is helpful to use “Test Test” or something similar so it’s clear this isn’t a real order
  • For email address, it’s ideal to use a valid one you have access to, so that you can receive the order confirmation email
  • For shipping/billing address and phone, use clearly phony data that still meets validation criteria (e.g. 123 Main Street in a given city and 212-555-5555 as the phone)
  • For the CVV (3-4 digit code), use any set of numbers
  • For the expiration date, use any future month/year combination

The site will inform you if there is any error confirming the order, but most times, you’ll get through. Make sure to have your debugger and/or console open and recording prior to purchase so you can see the analytics call come through. I’ll be sending this post as a reference next time I hear talk of someone using a personal card for analytics testing!

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