We should have had credit cards in ‘portrait mode’ all along


Think about this. You barely use your phone in landscape mode. Unless you’re watching a video on youtube, playing a game, or clicking a photo of a landscape, you’re probably holding and using your phone with one hand… and in portrait mode. So imagine a world where, all your life, your phone came with a landscape UI and home screen. Your drop down menu only worked from the right… and your screen shortcuts you’d expect at the bottom, appeared near the left bezel. When someone called you, you’d have to hold your phone in landscape to read the name and accept the call, and then hold your phone against your ear in portrait mode as you spoke. Makes no sense, doesn’t it? Well of course it doesn’t. It’s counter-intuitive.

So imagine your life with a chip-based credit or debit card. You insert it into the ATM machine in portrait mode, into POS systems in portrait mode too, and chances are, when you’re handing your card to the waiter or the cashier at your coffee shop, you hand it to them holding it in portrait mode… so why is the information on a chip-based credit card always laid out in landscape?

It may seem like a small problem, but it is a problem nevertheless, and like all problems, should be solved and not ignored or normalized.

Winds, however, seem to be changing, with a few companies like Starling Bank in the UK, Venmo in the US, and a few more increasingly adopting a design template that’s vertical rather than the age-old landscape format. The cards look refreshingly different, to say the least, and act not only as indications of how they’re to be used (even NFC cards are used in portrait mode), but also as a differentiating factor, allowing brands and banks to stand out. The portrait-mode card also makes a great case for card-holders, wallets, and phone-case-wallets that are increasingly adopting storing cards in portrait mode as well… and while some may be wondering why we never thought of this earlier, it’s worth noting that with how much we’ve begun adopting the portrait standard (not just for content consumption, but creation too, with Snap Stories and IGTV), it’s about time the payments card followed suit too.





Via The Verge