What Is a CPN? Controlled Payment Number + Credit Cards

In this article, we’re answering “What is a CPN?” But, before diving in, it’s important to note that there are different meanings for CPN.

First, there’s the fake social security number. Next, there’s the number for temporary credit cards. And, lastly, there are hundreds of non-profit organizations with the acronym “CPN” ranging from the Courageous Parents Network to the Conservation Paleobiology Network.

This article, “What is a CPN?” will refer to the Controlled Payment Network, which is used for virtual credit cards.

We will not be discussing CPNs as a replacement for a Social Security Number because they are a complete scam and using one on any official document or credit application can land you in jail.

This article is part of our free series on credit cards, including how to get a US credit card with an ITIN number, which you can access here.

Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.

Table of Contents

  1. What Is CPN?
  2. Why Use a Controlled Payment Number?
  3. What Are Other Examples of a CPN?
  4. Frequently Asked Questions
  5. Do You Want Help Opening Bank Accounts?

What Is CPN?

A CPN is a Controlled Payment Number that is issued by certain credit card providers in order to reduce the potential for fraud, theft, and unauthorized charges. In other words, a CPN provides credit card holders with a way to restrict card usage to specific merchants and purchases.

Additionally, in certain instances, a CPN can also be programmed for multiple purchases. This can allow a cardholder to use a CPN for recurring charges, such as monthly membership subscriptions.

Why Use a Controlled Payment Number?

Cardholders may elect to use a controlled payment number when are engaging with a new merchant, a merchant in a foreign country, or someone they do not yet trust. In short, using a CPN to complete a purchase allows the cardholder to place restrictions on card use. In other words, the maximum amount that is exposed to risk is the amount that the cardholder authorizes the CPN to be used for.

What Are Other Examples of a CPN?

As mentioned, CPN specifically refers to “Controlled Payment Number”, which is a trademark of Orbiscom, which was acquired by Mastercard in 2009. However, similar technology does exist from other providers as well.

This sort of technology provides cardholders with a way to generate virtual credit card numbers, in certain instances even tied to different names. As mentioned, the intended use of these virtual numbers is to allow cardholders to protect themselves, their true credit card numbers, and even their identities (in certain instances).

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a few of the most common questions we receive from people looking into what CPN is. If you have further questions you would like to ask our team, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Where Do CPN Numbers Come From?

CPN numbers (Controlled Payment Numbers) are generated through a credit card providers web interface or online banking platform. This ensures that the only person capable of generating the Controlled Payment Number is the actual cardholder of the credit card.

What Do CPNs Do?

CPNs (Controlled Payment Numbers) act as an alias to your actually credit card number. In doing so, they offer the cardholder an effective way to protect their actual credit card number, set limits on the amount that can be charged, and in certain cases even protect their identity.

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