The Difference Between Card Present vs. Card-Not-Present Transactions


Although it seems simple, Card Present and Card-Not Present Transactions have been confused due to the variety of payment channels currently available. Technically speaking, a transaction is considered “card present” only if the data was captured at the time of the sale. Data can be captured either by swiping a magnetic strip, using an EMV chip card, or a contactless digital wallet with a stored card(Apple Pay). Any other payment method would be considered “card-not-present” even if a customer physically brings in their credit card during the time of their transactions.

Here are examples of Card Present and Card Not Present Transactions:


-Credit Card Machines

-Smartphones or Tablets with Card Readers

-Terminals That are Contactless

-Card Readers with POS Systems


-Recurring/Subscription Billing (ACH)

-Orders Over the Phone or Manually Input

-Online Purchases

-Payment apps or tablets without card readers

Why This Matters?

The cost to process credit cards depends on whether the transaction was Card Present or Card-Not-Present transactions. This should be factored in when you decide how you want your business to process payments. At the interchange level, card-present transactions typically cost less.

Let us Help

At Gulf Management Systems, we can help your business process all types of transactions. Contact us today to see how we can help you!