What is a Continuous Payment Authority (CPA)?

A Continuous Payment Authority (CPA), which is sometimes referred to as a recurring payment or a ‘continuous payment transaction’, is where you give a business permission to regularly take money from your debit or credit card whenever they think they’re owed money. Often payday loan companies, online DVD rental subscriptions, porn websites, magazine subscriptions and gym memberships use this method of payment.

A CPA is different from a standing order or Direct Debit because the payment instruction is with the business, not with a bank. This gives them more flexibility in taking money from your account – they can charge fixed or varying amounts, and they don’t have to specify a date when they’re going to take a payment.