Cardholders can use the payment cards in two ways, when the card is present (CP), and when the card is not present (CNP).

Merchant can see the card (in a shop) or not (online)

Type Description
CP Cardholder uses the card to pay in a brick-and-mortar shop using a point of sale (POS) or terminal.
CNP Cardholders buy online with their payment card. It is card not present because the online merchant does not see the card.

References