CIT, MIT, and COF Transactions Explained

Payment transactions have undergone a major transformation in recent years with the rise of digital financial services and the shift toward cashless transactions.

One of the key drivers of this change has been the increasing use of card-based transactions and the introduction of new payment technologies.

In this article, we will take a closer look at three important types of card transactions – CIT, MIT, and COF frameworks – and explore the differences between them.

CIT Transactions (Cardholder-Initiated Transactions)

CIT transactions, also known as cardholder-initiated transactions, are transactions that are initiated by the cardholder. This could be in the form of a purchase at a physical store or an online shopping site. CIT transactions are typically approved in real-time by the issuer and are authenticated using 3DS.

MIT Transactions (Merchant-Initiated Transactions)

MIT transactions, also known as merchant-initiated transactions, are initiated by the merchant. This type of transaction typically takes place when a customer has enrolled in a recurring payment program, such as a monthly subscription service or a utility bill payment. The merchant is responsible for submitting the transaction to the issuer for approval, and the cardholder is then billed for the purchase.

COF Transactions (Card on File Transactions)

COF transactions, also known as card on file transactions, are transactions in which the cardholder has previously provided the merchant with their payment information, which is stored securely on file.

This information is then used to process transactions without the need for the cardholder to enter their payment information each time. COF transactions are commonly used for recurring payments, such as subscription services, and can provide a seamless and convenient experience for the cardholder.

Have in mind that in many regions, pushed by card scheme mandates, COF is replaced by CIT or MIT.

Differences between CIT, MIT, and COF Transactions

The main difference between these three types of transactions lies in who initiates the transaction. CIT transactions are initiated by the cardholder, MIT transactions are initiated by the merchant, and COF transactions are initiated using previously stored payment information.

Another important difference is the level of security provided by each type of transaction. CIT transactions offer the highest level of security as they require the authentication of the cardholder.

MIT transactions are considered less secure as they are initiated by the merchant and may not involve the cardholder in the approval process. COF transactions offer a balance between security and convenience, as the cardholder's payment information is stored securely but can be used to process transactions without the need for manual input.

In terms of processing time, CIT transactions are typically approved in real-time, while MIT transactions may have slightly lower approval rate. COF transactions can be processed quickly as the payment information is already on file and can be used to process the transaction without delay.


In conclusion, CIT, MIT, and COF transactions are three important types of card transactions that have their own unique characteristics and advantages.

Picking one of mentioned frameworks also depends on the business needs of each merchant.

Understanding the differences between them is crucial for both merchants and cardholders to ensure a safe and efficient payment experience. Whether you are a business looking to accept card payments or a consumer making a purchase, it is important to be aware of the type of transaction you are making and the level of security it provides.

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