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Good Idea: “What is this charge on my credit card?” Page

Published by Chris Coyier

In looking over my last month's credit card charges, I saw one I didn't immediately recognize:

Well, it's a URL: WP-FEE.COM, so I checked it out. It's a redirect to a URL of a page that explains what this charge could have been:

Oh yeah, of course, my VaultPress subscription.

Now this isn't a new idea. We do it at Wufoo as well.

And we got the idea from 37 signals.

In googling around for others that do this, I found a good one from SlideRoom:

Via PayPal

If you accept payments via PayPal, and you have an account that is dedicated to one business, you should consider putting in a URL as your "Credit Card Statement Name" so that people have an immediate resource for checking into that charge.

I have PayPal Pro, so as of this writing, to get to that preference, it's My Account > Profile > Payment receiving preferences (Under Security and risk settings). Toward the bottom of those settings:

Now I didn't tell it to, but my phone number also appears on credit card statements next to that name. I'd recommend using something like Grasshopper to have a phone number you can use on your PayPal account with a prerecorded message that explains essentially the same thing the URL would explain.

I'm sure other payment gateways or merchants or providers or whatever you call them have similar ways to change what appears on people's credit card statements.

Do this

Now you might think, yeah sure, for big fancy companies with thousands of users being charged every month, this is good, but I'm just a small guy, it's not worth the effort. Not true. When selling Digging Into WordPress we accepted online payment that were just one-off payments and on a much smaller scale than these other services. Yet, at peak sales, I would sometimes get one phone call a day asking what this charge was on their card. Certainly not how any of us want to be spending time.


  1. As the title says it: Good idea! :)

    The idea has never hit me before and this would be an excellent addition to any business at all – whether small or big!

    To be honest, I just like those (I won’t ‘small’) not-so-big guys who actually do excert their efforts in adding this pages to their sites. Talk about professional!

    Oh and I can totally relate the ‘Why is your site’s name on my credit card bill?’

    Not only would this affect you as the seller, but try placing yourself in your customer’s shoes too. That would be such a clutter for the both of you!

    I love the post, Chris! Just simple and straight to the point! :)

    – The guys from

  2. Love this – it is indeed a very good idea, and I love the phone number tip as an additional bonus.

    This might be a little thing but, as you said, anything that can mitigate distractions from your core business of the day is a massive help. I especially like the ‘Still have questions?’ box on the 37Signals page.

  3. Dude, you made my day ^^ I’m just looking into some payment systems because I’m developing my own invoicing system and this is one hell of a good idea to add on as a basic feature.


  4. Very interesting idea for minimising hassle.

    Nice post!

  5. This is a very good recommendation! The fields are available in PayPal making it very simple to include the URL so that it appears on the customers statement.
    Thank you!

  6. Hi Chris – thanks for the Grasshopper mention. Love your idea of using Grasshopper to explain the charges on customer’s credit card statements! Thanks again – Allison

  7. FogFee

    Wow this makes a lot of sense dude. Wow.

  8. What a great tip! I never would have thought to do this. Thanks so much for sharing! =D

  9. So simple, yet brilliant. Thanks!

  10. Anthony
    Permalink to comment#

    WP-FEE.COM showed up when I purchased an API key for AKISMET. All good.

  11. Permalink to comment# is trying to solve the problem too. When you google a strange charge name, WhatsThatCharge has a list of answers as to what it most likely is!

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