Dispute monitoring programs
Last updated: January 11, 2023
Card schemes (like Visa and Mastercard) monitor your dispute activity month by month, comparing it to your sales. If the number of disputes (also known as chargebacks) you receive exceeds the levels deemed acceptable by the scheme, you may be placed on their monitoring program.
Once you’re on a program, the scheme can charge you monthly fines and additional fees, until you reduce the dispute activity back down to acceptable levels.
We will let you know if you’re at risk of being placed, or have been placed, on a program, and work with you to reduce your disputes.
To learn how to handle and help reduce chargebacks, read our guide on responding to disputes.
If you fail to comply within a specified time period (this depends on the scheme), the scheme can refuse to continue processing your payments. This is rare, but it's best to take immediate action if you're enrolled on a program.
Learn about Visa’s and Mastercard’s dispute monitoring programmes below.
If you need help or have any questions about the dispute monitoring programmes, contact our Risk team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visa's Dispute Monitoring Program
The Visa Dispute Monitoring Program (VDMP) is a merchant-level dispute monitoring program that is used to:
- identify merchants with excessive levels of disputes
- implement corrective plans to protect the integrity of the payment system
The VDMP has four program timelines.
Breaching both the VFMP and VDMP in the same month
If you exceed both the VDMP and Visa Fraud Monitoring Program (VFMP) program thresholds in the same month would enter each program as separate identifications. Each case will continue in their respective program until they are remediated. However, if you are subject to assessments in both programs, the VDMP assessment will take precedence. Visa could still release 10.5 Dispute rights for the VFMP case.
Program exit criteria
To exit the VDMP, you need to perform below the Standard program thresholds for three consecutive months, no matter what timeline you're in. If you perform below the Standard program thresholds for less than the required three consecutive months:
- your program status continues from the previous identification
- the required three consecutive months restart the next month you're below Standard program thresholds
Suspension of non-compliance assessments
Visa may suspend or waive non-compliance assessments (fines), in whole or in part, to accommodate unique or extenuating circumstances. Through submission of a remediation plan, the acquirer can make requests for temporary suspension, or waiver of non-compliance assessments, on your behalf. This remediation plan should:
- state the root causes of the identification
- demonstrate actions taken to restore compliance
- outline milestones acceptable to Visa and dates for all corrective actions
Suspension of non-compliance assessments and program fees are:
- at Visa’s sole discretion
- for a set period of time If granted, the non-compliance assessment and program fees will continue to accrue during the suspension period. If you're unable to perform below program thresholds during the suspension period and are identified afterwards, the accrued non-compliance assessment may be levied.
VDMP thresholds, timelines, and fines
Applies if you are non-High Risk Merchant Category Code (MCC) and meet or exceed both of the Standard dispute thresholds
|Number of disputes||Dispute-to-sales ratio|
Timeline, fines, and fees - above the VDMP Standard thresholds
|Months 1||Months 2-4||Months 5-9||Months 10-11||Months 12+|
EU region and UK
All other regions
Example: Visa Violation Month May 2022 (Computations made in June 2022)
The VDMP uses disputes and sales transactions processed in the previous calendar month. The formula used for the dispute-to-sales ratio calculation is:
Dispute-to-sales count ratio = Count of disputes issued during the month / Count of sales during the month
Count of Visa disputes issued in May 2022
Count of Visa sales in May 2022
Dispute-to-sales count ratio for May 2022
Breaching the standard thresholds of the VDMP
Additional information for VDMP
Program monitoring includes domestic transactions and international transactions for the following acquirer regions:
- AP Region (Australia)
- Canada Region
- Europe Region (Germany, United Kingdom)
- LAC Region (Brazil)
- US Region
For all remaining regions, VDMP monitoring only includes international transactions:
- Only the first ten disputes between you, and a single account number in a given calendar month, are counted for the purpose of the VDMP.
- Dispute Code 10.5 (Visa Fraud Monitoring Program) is excluded from VDMP.
- Domestic transaction: A transaction where the issuer of the Card used is located in the transaction Country (the country where you are).
- International transaction: A transaction where the issuer of the Card used is not located in the transaction Country (the country where you are).
Mastercard's Acquirer Chargeback Monitoring Program
Mastercard uses the Acquirer Chargeback Monitoring Program (ACMP) to monitor merchants that receive an excessive number of chargebacks on a monthly basis. Mastercard's ACMP consists of two programs, the Excessive Chargeback Program (ECP) and the Excessive Fraud Merchant (EFM) program. The ECP program has two categories:
- Excessive Chargeback Merchant (ECM)
- High Excessive Chargeback Merchant (HECM)
How does Mastercard calculate basis points (chargeback rate)?
Mastercard measures your chargeback rate in ‘basis points’, using the number to define which level of the program you fall into.
Basis points are the number of chargebacks in a calendar month, divided by the number of Mastercard transactions processed in the preceding month, and then multiplied by 10,000.
Basis points = (Count of chargebacks during the month / Count of Sales during the preceding month ) X 10,000
Example: Mastercard violation month May 2022 [Computations made in June 2022]
Count of Mastercard chargebacks issued in May 2022
Count of Mastercard sales in April 2022
Basis points for May 2022
( 150 / 7500 ) * 10,000 = 200
Breaching the ECM thresholds
How to exit the ECM
Mastercard will remove you from the program if your dispute activity falls below the ECM thresholds for three consecutive months. Where an extension is in place, if you successfully comply with the program for three consecutive months before the extension period ends, assessments will not apply. However, if you receive approval for an extension request, compliance must be achieved by the end of the extension period. Otherwise, you will be retroactively billed for any assessments you would have accrued while the extension was in place. You will also be retroactively billed for any assessments you would have accrued while the extension was in place if you:
- leave before the end of the extension period, for example, if you process zero sales in a calendar month
- you do not successfully exit the program by having three consecutive months below the program thresholds
If you are unable to comply with the programs, you may contact Checkout.com to request an extension from Mastercard. Usually, extensions should be requested when you can quickly address the causes of identification in the Acquirer Chargeback Monitoring Program. An extension will allow time for the remaining chargebacks to be processed, and for you to return to compliance with program thresholds. Extensions are reviewed and granted on a case-by-case basis. Mastercard may request additional information, such as an action plan, to evaluate an extension request.
Non-compliance for both EFM and ECM in the same month
If you are identified as non-compliant for both EFM and ECM in the same month, you will only be subject to the applicable EFM assessments. If you are identified in either the ECM or EFM for 12 months, the highest of the program assessments (ECM or EFM) will apply.
ACMP thresholds, timelines, and fines
|Number of chargebacks||Chargeback rate (basis points)|
100 to 299
150 to 299
|Number of months above ECM thresholds||Fines|
If you need support or have questions about the dispute monitoring programs, please contact our Risk team at email@example.com.