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What is a card not present transaction?


What is a Card-Not-Present Transaction?


Card not present transactions (CNP) are becoming an increasingly popular way for customers to make purchases. 

CNP transactions apply to payments made when the cardholder does not or cannot physically present the card at the time of order.

A transaction is considered to be “card present" when the card is physically tapped onto a contactless reader or the PIN is entered into a card machine.

Fees for processing CNP transactions are higher compared to those when the card is physically present at a sale. This is due to the increased risk of fraudulent transactions and chargebacks with CNP sales.

Examples of Card-Not-Present Transactions

There are a number of common examples of card not present transactions, these can include; 

  • Online transactions: These payments are made through online payment gateways at the checkout stage of an online store. The card is usually physically present with the card holder, but the merchant is in another location.

  • Subscriptions or recurring payments: Payments or bills that are set-up to recur automatically without the need for the card or card holder to provide any information.

  • Card on file: In this instance, customers use saved card information to make a purchase. This can mean that neither the card, card holder or merchant are in the same location during the transaction. 

  • Electronic invoices: When an invoice and payment are submitted automatically to clients and paid without the presence of the merchant.

  • Phone orders: When a customer provides their card information directly to your business over the phone. The card and card holder are usually in one location and the merchant is in another.

  • Cloud wallet payments: This newer payment method uses a smartphone app which holds card information, to make purchases. This method of payment can often mean both the card holder and the merchant are physically present at a transaction but the card is not. 

How to reduce Card-Not-Present Fraud

CNP transactions carry with them an increased risk of fraud as there are fewer ways to verify the identity of the card holder during the sale. CNP fraud occurs when an individual uses another person’s compromised card details to make a remote purchase. 

According to UK Finance, in 2018 over £500 million worth of CNP fraud was conducted in the UK. With the rise of online shopping and CNP transactions, it is likely that this figure will increase.

There are however, a number of ways to protect against CNP fraud. 

  • Address Verification System (AVS): This system cross-checks the address provided by the customer with the one held by the card issuer to verify their identity. This is usually done by the card company through their verification system during the final stages of processing the transaction.

  • Card Verification Value (CCV): The CVV is typically a three-or-four-digital number on the back of your card which adds an extra layer of security when completing purchases online or over the phone. It serves to verify that you have a physical copy of the card in your possession and helps to protect you if your card number falls into the hands of hackers and identity thieves.

  • Ensure your business is PCI DSS Compliant: PCI DSS is a set of security standards which is designed to ensure all businesses accept, process, store or transmit credit card information do so in a secure environment.

  • Use smart reporting: smart reporting enables you to identify red flags and monitor suspicious activity like frequent returns and chargebacks over time.

  • Create a culture of security: provide regular awareness training for your staff as a way to safeguard against credit card fraud.

  • Never store card numbers or security codes: Never store card numbers or security codes either on paper or in an electronic document as these could easily be intercepted by hackers or identity thieves. 

At Opayo we offer a range of fraud prevention tools to all of our partners so every business can protect themselves against CNP transaction fraud. Advanced fraud screening is available at no extra charge to all of our clients. Including 3D secure authentication, real time AVS and CCV2 checks and postal address file checks (PAF) as standard. 

Ways to Accept and Process CNP Transactions with Opayo

With Opayo, there are a number of simple solutions to accept and process card-not-present transactions with ease and offer greater convenience to your customers.

  1. Using our Online Payment Gateway you can start accepting online payments quickly and efficiently. Our gateway is integrated into your website or choice of shopping cart so you can complete card-not-present transactions immediately.

  2. Virtual Terminal enable you to complete transactions remotely over the phone, via email or using an online catalogue.




Taking steps to protect your business against CNP fraud could save valuable time and money. Additionally, ensuring your customer’s details are safe can increase trust in your business and help your store to reach its full potential.

For more information on Opayo’s fraud prevention services, contact our UK based support team today.