by Administrator Administrator on ‎12-03-2010 10:22 AM (133,190 Views)

A common question we have here in the community is “When should I use ARB and when should I use CIM?” I thought it would be good to outline what each service does, and in which cases it’s best to use each.

What is ARB?
ARB, or Automated Recurring Billing, is exactly what the name implies: a solution for automatically processing recurring or subscription-based payments. ARB allows you to create a subscription that includes your customers’ payment information, billing amount and payment schedule. Once a subscription is created, Authorize.Net will handle the transactions for you, submitting payments using the information and schedule provided. ARB also includes the ability to customize trial periods and pricing.


When to use ARB
ARB should be used when your merchants’ recurring transactions will be billed on the same date and for the same amount each occurrence. For example: membership fees. If your merchant will be billing their customer a membership fee of $10.00 a month, and they’ll bill it on the first of each month, then ARB is the way to go. You can create a subscription that bills $10.00 on the first of each month, for however long the membership is to be. Once created, Authorize.Net takes care of billing the customer each month.


The same goes for semi-annual or yearly charges. If your merchant will bill their customer on November 11th of every year for an annual membership of $100.00, then ARB will work just fine.


What is CIM?
CIM, or Customer Information Manager, is designed to simplify PCI DSS compliance. When you use CIM, you store your customer’s sensitive payment information on Authorize.Net’s secure servers for use in future transactions. This helps satisfy PCI DSS compliance as securely storing data is one of the requirements. Storing this information on our servers also allows your returning customers to use previously stored payment information and allows you set up recurring payments as well.   


When to use CIM
If you store your customers’ information, then CIM is an ideal solution as it helps you with PCI DSS compliance. But CIM is also beneficial for any merchant who needs to process recurring transactions on different dates or for different amounts for each occurrence. For example: utility companies. If your merchant bills their customers every month for an electric bill, the amount will be different every month. In this case, CIM is the best option.  You can create a payment profile that will be stored on Authorize.Net’s servers and then use that profile to bill the customer their amount due every month.


CIM is also good for usage charges. If your merchant only bills their customer when they actually use the service, then create a profile with the payment information and use that profile for billing when the service is actually used.


The bottom line
ARB is for very structured recurring payments: the subscription will bill on the same date and for the same amount each time.

CIM is for flexible recurring payments: the payments can be on different dates and for different amounts each time.

ARB requires less work on your end as you simply create the subscription and then Authorize.Net processes the payments according to the schedule you created.  

CIM requires more work on your end as you will have to come up with a scheduler that will call the CIM API to charge the customer’s profile for each scheduled payment. However, it does provide the flexibility necessary for some recurring transaction models.  Plus, it provides the added bonus of storing your customers’ information which allows you to simplify the purchase process for repeat customers.

More info
You can check out the CIM guides and the ARB guides. Feel free to post any questions here as well.

by Contributor EarlyImpact
on ‎03-03-2011 10:58 PM



One thing that is currently missing on the Authorize.Net web site is a directory of subscription management tools that can help merchants better manage their customers' recurring payments by leveraging CIM or ARB. I'm referring to applications that can help you easily manage things like:


- Upgrading or downgrading a subscription

- Adding or removing features to or from an existing subscription

- Applying a discount

- Allowing customers to easily change payment method

- Automatically follow-up to resolve a failed payment scenario

- Etc.


So, here is a short list of small business solutions that can help you create and manage subscriptions. Disclaimer: I'm starting the list with the tool that we developed at Early Impact.



Hosted checkout, hosted customer center, and subscription management on top of ARB. Allows you to import existing ARB subscriptions. API available as well.



Hosted checkout, hosted customer center, and subscription management on top of CIM.



Subscription management tools and API. Works with CIM.


I hope this helps!

by koolhassan4u
‎01-29-2012 11:59 PM - edited ‎01-30-2012 12:00 AM



Thanks for such a great tutorial.


Can you please tell me can i save customerProfileid,CustomerPaymentProfileid and CustomerShipingAddressid into my database and use three ids for future transaction ???

by Administrator Administrator
on ‎01-30-2012 10:35 AM

Hi koolhassan4u,


Absolutely. That's what the IDs are designed for--to be used in future transactions in place of sensitive information. You can store these IDs in your database no problem. They are not covered by PCI rules because they are not sensitive data.





Developer Community Manager

by koolhassan4u
on ‎01-30-2012 11:06 PM

Thank you :)

by jamesmount
on ‎08-27-2013 05:27 AM - last edited on ‎08-27-2013 06:42 AM by Administrator Administrator

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful tutorial however, I would love their drawbacks as well. Please do share the entire information that can lead to a good decision.

by trebor13
on ‎09-16-2013 11:46 AM

When using ARB where is the customer entered sensitive information kept?

by Administrator Administrator
on ‎09-23-2013 09:42 AM



Sensitive information for ARB subscriptions are stored on Authorize.Net servers.



by saurabh86
on ‎01-15-2014 10:20 PM

Hello Admin, 


I have a query that, Will ARB notify marchents account that the payment for this subID has been done, so website admin can update the account, or we do need to call get status methods all the time, 


one more query that what will happen when there will be not enough money on the same day, will will recall the users account in next day, 


please suggest, 



by saurabh86
on ‎01-15-2014 10:44 PM

Also how this link will work, from where we can enable this feature.


Please let me know, 



by Administrator Administrator
on ‎01-16-2014 10:55 AM

Hello @saurabh86 


For your first question on ARB notification,  you can configure your account to get email notifications on their ARB subscriptions. This includes being notified on successful and failed transactions.   To enable this, here are some useful pages to review: 


If the transaction declines because there was no sufficient funds on the day the subscription is scheduled to be charged, Authorize.Net will not resubmit the charge. You will need to initiate it on your end.




by stvnbn
on ‎05-16-2014 02:45 PM

Hi, I need to create a recurring payment with ARB, but I need the user information from CIM, I mean, I would like to use the customer profile info to get the payment for my subscription.


Is it possible? if so, chould you please tell me how can I create a transaccion that creates a subscription? or could you point me to the documentation please?


Thanks in advance,


by Administrator Administrator
on ‎05-16-2014 03:14 PM

Hello @stvnbn 


At this time, it's not possible to use ARB and CIM together, but it's one of the enhancements we're actively discussing.




by Netizen
on ‎07-18-2014 05:08 AM

Hi Michelle, Richard


We are currently trying to inetegrate our web-selfcare application with using CIM API


CIM API Queries


1. Can you please confirm if the following understanding regarding the integration is correct?



by Netizen
on ‎07-18-2014 05:28 AM



ex. Customer Registration

a. Using Hosted API

    i. getHostedProfilePageRequest will re-direct user to hosted page and the token provided in response over returnUrl

    ii. Customer will enter all the required data and createCustomerProfileRequest is made to (do we make  

        API Call in this step?)

    iii. Client will capture customerprofileid, customerpaymentprofileid for recurring transactions



b. Using Standard API

     Client application need to capture the required details to create customer profile along with CC details which will be

      sent to All transactions/communication will take place over standard APIs


2. Can we use Hosted API and Standard APIs together? e.g. Hosted API (for registration, deletion of profile) and standard api (for payments, top-up)


3. Do we any other authorization parameters other that customerprofileid and customerpaymentprofileid to authorize payment? are there any additional token parameters?


4. Do we need to store token in our application during integration with ? we are currently storing some tokens for credit card payments with other payment gateway


5. How are AuthorizationOnly, Authorize and Capture, Capture Only & Prior Authorization and Capture are different from business case perspective?


Really appriciate your help on above queries


Thank you..  

by Administrator Administrator
on ‎07-18-2014 07:36 AM

Currently, CIM and our other APIs do not work together.  If you wish to use CIM to collect payment information, you'll need to use CIM with your own scheduler to submit recurring payments.


When you create a profile, you will receive back a token that you store in your system.  You will then use that token instead of collecting card details to process payments.


For details on the differen transaction types, I would recommend reviewing our developer training videos at



by Netizen
on ‎07-18-2014 08:12 AM


Hi Richard,


Thank you for the quick reply


Is the token for recurring transactions sent under the validationDirectResponseList or the PaymentProfileID would act as a token for recurring payments? Actually, I could not find the exact parameter storing the token and used for the recurring transaction


Asking the above question as there is a string  "D18EB6B211FE0BBF556B271FDA6F92EE"  under validationDirectResponseList object provided in createCustomerProfileResponse


I understand the token returned in getHostedProfilePageResponse would be just for the session and not for the recurring transactions. is that correct?


Thanks & Regards,







by Administrator Administrator
on ‎07-18-2014 08:23 AM

Hello Netizen,


I would recommend you review our Getting Started Guide for Customer Profiles at  It will provide an overview of how CIM works.


As a reminder, when using CIM, it currently does not allow you to schedule reccuring payments.  However, if you build your own scheduler you can use payment profiles to submit payments.





by Netizen
on ‎07-21-2014 06:59 AM

Hi Richard,


Thank you for reply


Couple of queries ..


Can we use standard API over HTTPS to create, update or delete customer profile using custom page in our application?


Do we need to make use of APIs to create, update or delete customer profile if we go with Hosted form approach?


As per CIM doumentation, it is mentioned that Hosted APIs can be used to create, update or delete customer profile and Standard API to submit transaction information


Thanks & Regards,


by Administrator Administrator
on ‎07-21-2014 07:22 AM

When using CIM, you will use the CIM API to perform all of your transactions.  Please refer to for an overview and links to the respective CIM API calls to create/manage profiles and create transactions.



by Liquid
on ‎10-20-2014 12:55 AM



I need to use CIM and ARB together.


I need the info to be stored via CIM, but also, I need the declined recurring transactions to continue to be attempted to be charged in ARB for a period of 12 weeks until the payment is successful. (If the payment is not successful after the 12 weeks, then the User needs to sign up again from scratch at a non-discounted rate.)


Is this possible yet? I've been waiting since I first asked this question in 2010. Please let me know.





by Administrator Administrator
on ‎10-20-2014 08:51 AM

Hello @Liquid 


It is currently not possible to use ARB and CIM together.  I've submitted an enhancement report to our product  team for consideration in a future release.

I'd recommend subscribing to this topic so that you'll be alerted via email if there are updates. To subscribe, click Topic Options at the top of this thread and then select Subscribe. You'll then receive an email once anyone replies to your post.



by Liquid
on ‎10-28-2014 01:35 PM

When will this be implemented? Seriously? Not just - it's on a list. I have been asking and waiting patiently since 2009 for this request and it is constantly in "development."  


If it is not really ever going to be completed, I need to find another cyber solution, as must have CIM and ARB together ASAP.

I need the info to be stored via CIM, but also, I need the declined recurring transactions to continue to be attempted to be charged in ARB for a period of 12 weeks until the payment is successful. (If the payment is not successful after the 12 weeks, then the User needs to sign up again from scratch at a non-discounted rate.)

What is taking so long? I have stayed with as a user in good faith based on my various online chats that this was in the works. This is extremely frustrastrating that this still has not been implemented.  If you are not going to ever do it, please just state as such so I can pound the pavement for an new company.


Tired of waiting and tired of the excuses, I'm sorry, but it's almost 2015. This should have been a new cool function years ago. Without it, is simply archaic with all of the newer and better options available.


It's really disappointing that 6 years later, there are many people still asking for this important feature.

by Liquid
on ‎11-04-2014 01:52 PM

What is the status of this? As a paying client, who has asked about this functionality since 2009, I am going to inquire every week.


Please advise.

by sanjay9033
on ‎11-12-2014 08:13 PM

Hi @RichardH,


I being a customer, need this integration as my requiement is quite similar to @Liquid.


I want to use CIM payment profile to use in ARB transactions.


Please let me know whether you will be implementing this feature in near future, if not please do let me know clearly.


So it will help me implement my requirement through other way.


Please Reply.





by Administrator Administrator
on ‎11-13-2014 08:28 AM

@Liquid @sanjay9033 


I would refer you to our new product ideas forum where we're tracking this request.  Feel free to vote, add your own comments, make suggestions on how you would like this feature to work for you.



by mohdqasim98
on ‎01-21-2015 03:32 AM

You are toooo slow.