Monitoring programs
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Monitoring programs
Prevent risk for your business by keeping chargeback and fraud ratio below monitoring thresholds

Card schemes like Visa and Mastercard track monthly disputes (also known as chargebacks) against your sales. If the number of disputes exceeds the acceptable limit set by the card scheme, your business might be enrolled in a monitoring program.

If you are accepted into the program, the system may charge you monthly penalties and additional fees until you reduce the number of disputes to an acceptable level.

Visa

Visa has established two monitoring programs to identify merchants with excessive disputes and/or fraud and to promote the use of fraud controls and fair business practices.

The Visa Dispute Monitoring Program (VDMP) and the Visa Fraud Monitoring Program (VFMP) run monthly for 12 months. At the beginning of each month, Visa reviews the previous month’s processing activity and identifies merchants that exceed the program’s thresholds. Your company must exceed both thresholds to be enrolled in the program. Additionally, Visa has launched the Visa Digital Goods Merchant Fraud Monitoring Program as an extension to the VFMP, targeting digital goods merchant fraud transactions.

Visa identifies a merchant based on a descriptor, and conducts a monthly review of all activity under these descriptors. This process applies specifically to merchant accounts that exceed certain thresholds.

Visa calculates the ratio of disputes to sales as follows: the number of disputes you received in a month divided by the number of sales you processed in that month multiplied by one hundred.

For example, if you had 175 disputes in January and made 5,500 sales in January, your dispute-to-sales ratio is 3.18% (175 / 5,500 x 100). This ratio might place you in the standard level of the VDMP program, unless you are categorized as a high-risk merchant.
To exit the program, your dispute activity must be below the standard threshold for three consecutive months. If enrolled, you’re required to submit a monthly remediation plan from the second month onward, detailing the root cause and recovery actions. Penalties for non-compliance are calculated monthly based on the plan and duration of participation in the program. To opt out, your company must stay below the thresholds for three consecutive months. If your company is in the program for more than 12 months, you risk losing the ability to accept Visa payments.

The Visa Digital Goods Merchant Fraud Monitoring Program has been in effect since April 1, 2023, with a twelve-month advisory period during which no actions or fines are imposed. Starting April 1, 2024, the program will be fully operational based on March 2024 data. The VFMP Digital Goods program specifically targets digital goods merchant fraud transactions for the following MCC codes:

  • 5735 Record Stores
  • 5815 Digital Goods Media - Books, Movies, Digital Artwork/Images, Music
  • 5816 Digital Goods - Games
  • 5817 Digital Goods - Applications (Excludes Games)
  • 5818 Digital Goods - Large Digital Goods Merchant
If a merchant meets or exceeds the thresholds for both the VFMP and VFMP-Digital Goods programs, they will undergo a unified non-compliance assessment (NCA).

Visa’s Fraud Monitoring Program for 3D Secure (VFMP 3DS) is designed for US users to monitor and manage domestic 3D-Secure transaction fraud.

This program is focused on US accounts with high levels of domestic 3D-Secure fraud.

The fraud ratio for VFMP-3DS is calculated by dividing the amount (in USD) of fraud reported on 3D Secure transactions in a given month by the amount of sales processed through 3DS in the same month.

Timeline, Fines, and Fees:

  • Early Warning: No fines or additional fees are imposed for receiving an early warning.
  • Remediation: If your account stays below the standard program thresholds for three consecutive months, it will be removed from VFMP-3DS.
VFMP-3DS details
  • Uses US domestic 3DS (ECI 5 and 6) fraud and sales transactions processed in the previous calendar month.
  • Only the first ten fraudulent transactions in a given month, between you and a single account number, are included.
  • Excludes fraud type code 3 (fraud application).

VDMP

  • 75 or more disputes, and 0.65% ratio of disputes to sales transactions
  • 100 disputes, and 0.9% ratio of disputes to sales transactions

Timeline for 12-Month Card Monitoring Program

  • Months 1-4
    • Workout period
    • No fines
  • Months 5-9
    • Visa fine of 50 USD per dispute
  • Months 10-11
    • Visa fine of 50 USD per dispute
    • 25,000 USD review fee (non-EU merchants only)
    • Might require audit
  • Month 12+
    • Visa fine of 50 USD per dispute
    • 25,000 USD review fee
    • Might require audit
    • Merchant eligible for disqualification (can no longer process Visa payments)
  • 1000 disputes, and 1.8% ratio of disputes to sales transactions

Timeline for 12-Month Card Monitoring Program

  • Months 1-6
    • Visa fine of 50 USD per dispute
  • Months 7-11
    • Visa fine of 50 USD per dispute
    • Visa can begin to apply a 25,000 USD review fee (non-EU merchants only)
  • Month 12+
    • Visa fine of 50 USD per dispute
    • Visa can begin to apply a 25,000 USD review fee (non-EU merchants only)
    • Merchant eligible for disqualification (can no longer process Visa payments)
  • 100 disputes, and 0.9% ratio of chargeback to sales transactions and
  • One of the following:
    • Merchant outlet moved from Visa standard threshold to High-Risk threshold based on a review of merchant performance and inappropriate business practices (e.g., use of abusive free trial policies, negative renewal options, etc.), or
    • The merchant exceeds the standard program thresholds and is categorized or should be categorized by a high-brand risk MCC, High-Brand Risk MCCs (MCC 5962, 5966, 5967, 7995, 5912, 5122, 5993), or
    • Met or exceeded the program’s Excessive threshold

VFMP

  • US $50,000 or more in fraud dollar amount, and 0.65% or higher ratio of fraud to sales dollar amount
  • US $75,000 in fraud amount, and 0.9% ratio of fraud to sales dollar amount

Timeline for 12-Month Card Monitoring Program

  • Months 1-4 * No penalties
  • Months 5-6
    • Issuers able to raise fraudulent disputes on 3DS transactions (all markets)
    • 25,000 USD
  • Months 7-9
    • Issuers able to raise fraudulent disputes on 3DS transactions (all markets)
    • 50,000 USD
  • Months 10-12
    • Issuers able to raise fraudulent disputes on 3DS transactions (all markets)
    • 75,000 USD
  • Month 12+
    • Issuers able to raise fraudulent disputes on 3DS transactions (all markets)
    • Merchant eligible for disqualification (can no longer process Visa payments)
  • US $250,000 in fraud amount, and 1.8% ratio of fraud to sales dollar amount

Timeline for 12-Month Card Monitoring Program

  • Months 1-3
    • Visa fine of 10,000 USD
    • Issuers able to raise fraudulent disputes on 3DS transactions
  • Months 4-6
    • Visa fine of 25,000 USD
    • Issuers able to raise fraudulent disputes on 3DS transactions
  • Months 7-9
    • Visa fine of 50,000 USD
    • Issuers able to raise fraudulent disputes on 3DS transactions
  • Months 10-12
    • Visa fine of 75,000 USD
    • Issuers able to raise fraudulent disputes on 3DS transactions
  • Month 12+
    • Visa fine of 75,000 USD+
    • Issuers able to raise fraudulent disputes on 3DS transactions
    • Merchant eligible for disqualification (can no longer process Visa payments)
  • US $75,000 in fraud dollar amount, and 0.9% ratio of fraud to sales dollar amount, and
  • One of the following:
    • Merchant outlet moved from Visa standard threshold to High Risk threshold based on a review of merchant performance and inappropriate business practices (e.g., use of abusive free trial policies, negative renewal options, etc.), or
    • The merchant exceeds the standard program thresholds and is categorized or should be categorized by a high-brand risk MCC, High-Brand Risk MCCs (MCC 5962, 5966, 5967, 7995, 5912, 5122, 5993), or
    • Met or exceeded the program Excessive threshold

VFMP Digital Goods

  • US $15,000 in fraud dollar amount, and 0.45% ratio of fraud to sales dollar amount
  • US $25,000 in fraud dollar amount, 0.9% ratio of fraud to sales dollar amount

VFMP-Digital Goods Standard Program Timeline:

  • Months 1-4
    • No penalties
  • Months 5-6
    • Enforcement: $25,000 & 10.5 Dispute Liability
  • Months 7-9
    • Enforcement: $50,000 & 10.5 Dispute Liability
  • Months 10-11
    • Enforcement: $75,000 & 10.5 Dispute Liability
  • Month 12+
    • Enforcement: $75,000 & 10.5 Dispute Liability
    • Merchant eligible for disqualification (can no longer process Visa payments)

10.5 Dispute Liability: Issuers can raise fraudulent disputes on 3DS transactions (all markets) under Dispute Condition 10.5 within 120 calendar days from the date of the report.

VFMP 3DS

  • US $50,000 or more in fraud dollar amount, and 0.65% or higher ratio of fraud to sales dollar amount
  • US $75,000 in fraud amount, and 0.9% ratio of fraud to sales dollar amount

VFMP-3DS Standard Program Timeline:

  • Months 1-12
    • No fines + Merchant loses liability shift protections until they exit the program.

Mastercard

Mastercard operates the Mastercard Acquirer Chargeback Monitoring Program (ACMP), which includes two tiers: Excessive Chargeback Merchant (ECM) and High Excessive Chargeback Merchant (HECM). Your placement in either of these tiers depends on the total number of chargebacks received in a month and the ratio of chargebacks to revenue in that month. You will be notified if your business falls under this program.

Mastercard identifies merchants using their merchant account ID. Each month, they conduct a review of all merchant accounts that exceed certain thresholds.

Mastercard uses the merchant account ID to identify merchants. Each month, they review all merchant accounts that surpass certain threshold limits. Your chargeback ratio is measured in “basis points,” which Mastercard uses to determine the appropriate program tier for your business.

The calculation of basis points is as follows: The number of chargebacks in a specific month is divided by the number of Mastercard transactions processed in the preceding month, then multiplied by 10,000.

For instance, if you had 185 chargebacks in February and processed 7,500 payments in January, your chargeback ratio would be 247 basis points (185 / 7,500 x 10,000 = 246.66, rounded up to 247). This ratio would categorize your business under the Excessive Chargeback Merchant (ECM) program tier.
Mastercard will disqualify you from the program if your disputes are below the ECM thresholds for three consecutive months.

ECM

The ECM program, established by Mastercard, is crafted to streamline enforcement and facilitate quicker interactions between acquirers and card networks. Its primary objective is to enhance the accuracy and accountability of the merchant compliance process. As a chargeback control initiative, the ECM program focuses on monitoring e-commerce merchants to curb excessive chargebacks within the Mastercard network.

The ECM program aims to keep chargeback levels within acceptable limits by monitoring merchant activities and imposing fines for non-compliance, thus preserving the Mastercard network’s integrity and encouraging improved transaction and dispute management among merchants.

  • A count of at least 100 to 299 chargebacks, and
  • A chargeback to transaction ratio (CTR) = 1.5% to 2.99%
Metrics / Months 1 2 3 4-6 7-11 12-18 19+
Fine 0 USD 1,000 USD 2,000 USD 5,000 USD 25,000 USD 50,000 USD 100,000 USD
Issuer Recovery Assessment No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
  • A count of at least 300 chargebacks, and
  • A chargeback to transaction ratio (CTR) = > 3%
Metrics / Months 1 2 3 4-6 7-11 12-18 19+
Fine 0 USD 1,000 USD 2,000 USD 10,000 USD 50,000 USD 100,000 USD 200,000 USD
Issuer Recovery Assessment No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes

EFM

The EFM program by Mastercard streamlines enforcement and accelerates interactions between acquirers and the card network, aiming to enhance merchant compliance accuracy and accountability.

In this program, only chargebacks under the reason code ‘4837 - No Cardholder Authorization’ contribute to the thresholds. Additionally, the EFM Counter Logic limits the count to the first 15 fraudulent chargebacks from the same account number (PAN).
  • 1,000 or more e-commerce transactions and
  • The total dollar amount (or local currency equivalent) of fraud related chargebacks in a given month equals or exceeds USD 50,000, and
  • The total number of fraud chargeback basis points is equal or more than 50, and
  • The percentage of monthly clearing volume processed using 3DS (including Data Only transactions) or Digital Secure Remote Payment (DSRP) is less than 10 percent in non-regulated countries or less than 50 percent in regulated countries
Metrics / Months 1 2 3 4-6 7-11 12-18 19+
Fine 0 USD 500 USD 1,000 USD 5,000 USD 25,000 USD 50,000 USD 100,000 USD

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