Difference between Card Present and Card Not Present Transactions

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When you pay using your credit or debit card, you need to facilitate either one of these type of transactions:

  1. Card Present (CP) Transaction
  2. Card Not Present (CNP) Transaction

The difference between the two is pretty simple, but important to know.

In CP transactions, you need to swipe your physical card and then provide your signatures for the payment to get authenticated. Examples include paying bills at cafes, restaurants, grocery and other stores – basically whenever your card is swiped.

On the other hand, a CNP transaction is one when you don’t need your physical card to make a payment or authenticate yourself. When you shop, buy tickets or pay your bills online or using your phone, then a CNP transaction is what you facilitate.

CP transactions are typically safer than their CNP counterparts, but the industry and governments are slowly working towards phasing them out in interest of better and more convenient technology. Nonetheless as of today, both types of transactions co-exist and will continue to for many years to come.