Guest Blogger
Table of contents

Merchant Monitoring Programs play a pivotal role in ensuring the security and integrity of transactions in the ever-expanding digital payment landscape. As businesses increasingly rely on electronic payment methods, it becomes imperative to implement robust monitoring systems that safeguard against disputes, fraud, and excessive chargebacks.

In this article, we delve into the world of Merchant Monitoring Programs, shedding light on their significance and the benefits they offer to merchants. We will explore two prominent programs offered by Visa, namely the Visa Dispute Monitoring Program (VDMP) and the Visa Fraud Monitoring Program (VFMP). Additionally, we will delve into Mastercard's Excessive Chargeback Program (ECP) and the Mastercard Excessive Fraud Merchant Compliance Program (EFM).

By understanding how these programs work and their specific objectives, merchants can make informed decisions to protect their businesses from potential risks and financial losses. Furthermore, we will discuss the similarities and differences between these programs, equipping you with the knowledge to choose the most suitable program for your business.

To maximize the effectiveness of Merchant Monitoring Programs, we will highlight best practices for implementation, including data security considerations, staff training, and system integration. Real-time monitoring and notifications will also be explored, emphasizing the importance of immediate responses to mitigate fraud and maintain customer trust.

The article aims to provide comprehensive insights into the world of Merchant Monitoring Programs, equipping merchants with the knowledge and tools necessary to protect their transactions, enhance customer trust, and navigate the ever-changing landscape of digital payments. So, let's dive into the realm of merchant monitoring and unlock the power of secure transactions!

What is Merchant Monitoring?

Merchant monitoring is the vigilant process of constantly assessing the risks posed by each merchant to an acquiring bank or payment service provider (PSP). It's like having a watchful guardian that keeps a close eye on every aspect of a merchant's activities.

For merchants like you, it's an essential tool that offers a host of benefits to safeguard and elevate your business. Let me take you on a journey through its advantages, step by step.

  • Stay Ahead of Fraud: With the power of automated monitoring software, you can swiftly detect any suspicious changes in sales or chargeback patterns. Think of it as a virtual detective that identifies and tackles fraud risks in a flash, saving you from potential financial harm.
  • Sail Smoothly Through Regulations: Compliance can be a complex maze, but not when you have merchant monitoring on your side. It keeps a close watch on your activities, ensuring you always abide by card association and legal requirements, leaving you worry-free.
  • Preserve Your Reputation: Your reputation is your crown jewel, and merchant monitoring shields it from harm. By proactively addressing risks, it stops potential problems from escalating, ensuring your business shines in the eyes of your customers.
  • Breeze Through Chargebacks: Chargebacks can be a drain on your resources, but fear not! Merchant monitoring spots issues early on, allowing you to address potential fraud or compliance problems before they turn into chargebacks. That means more money stays in your pocket.
  • Make Customers Happy: Happy customers are the heart of any successful business. By utilizing merchant monitoring to provide a secure shopping experience, you'll gain trust and keep customers coming back for more.

Now, let's talk options. You have two paths to choose from:

  • Automated Merchant Monitoring: It's budget-friendly and quick, using software to analyze data for potential risks. Though not as thorough as the other option, it still provides a solid shield for your business.
  • Manual Merchant Monitoring: If you seek the ultimate protection, this is the way to go. A human analyst will leave no stone unturned, ensuring your safety at every turn.

Ultimately, the choice depends on your business's size, risk tolerance, and budget. But whichever path you tread, merchant monitoring is your ultimate ally.

Merchant Risk Monitoring

Merchant risk monitoring is an essential and ongoing procedure aimed at evaluating the potential risks associated with each merchant for an acquiring bank or payment service provider (PSP). The goal is to ensure a secure and compliant environment while fostering smooth payment processing.

This comprehensive process involves continuous surveillance of various factors, including a merchant's sales trends, chargeback occurrences, and transaction patterns. By closely monitoring these elements, the acquiring bank or PSP can promptly identify any deviations or suspicious activities, which might indicate potential fraud or non-compliance issues.

Furthermore, merchant risk monitoring extends beyond transactional data and delves into monitoring a merchant's adherence to card association regulations and legal requirements. By doing so, the acquiring bank or PSP can actively mitigate risks, protect customers, and maintain a trustworthy reputation in the industry.

Implementing an efficient merchant risk monitoring system is crucial for not only safeguarding financial institutions but also for promoting a secure and reliable payment ecosystem for all stakeholders involved.

Top Industry Leading Merchant Monitoring Program

In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, having a top industry-leading merchant monitoring program is crucial for the success and security of any merchant. The right program provides a vigilant eye on potential risks, fraud, and compliance issues, offering unmatched protection and peace of mind.

With cutting-edge technology and expert human analysts, these programs stand as the forefront guardians of businesses, ensuring they stay ahead of challenges and maintain a spotless reputation. Let's delve into the top industry-leading merchant monitoring program that sets the gold standard in safeguarding businesses and their customers.

1. Visa Dispute Monitoring Program (VDMP)

The Visa Dispute Monitoring Program (VDMP) is a comprehensive system designed by Visa, one of the leading payment card networks, to address and manage transaction disputes effectively. It aims to protect both merchants and cardholders by providing a fair and transparent process for resolving payment disputes.

How VDMP Works?

  • Detection: VDMP employs sophisticated technology and analytics to identify potential disputes and irregularities in transactions.
  • Notification: Once a dispute is detected, the program notifies the merchant promptly, providing details of the disputed transaction.
  • Documentation: Merchants are required to provide necessary documentation and evidence to support their case and resolve the dispute.
  • Communication: VDMP facilitates communication between the merchant, the cardholder, and the issuing bank to gather additional information and clarify the situation.
  • Resolution: Based on the provided evidence and communication, VDMP helps in reaching a fair resolution, ensuring that the outcome aligns with Visa's dispute resolution guidelines.
  • Insights: The program offers valuable insights into dispute trends, helping merchants identify potential issues and take proactive measures to minimize disputes in the future.

Benefits for Merchants

  • Reduced Chargebacks: By actively monitoring and managing disputes, VDMP helps merchants in reducing chargebacks, which can have a significant financial impact.
  • Efficient Dispute Resolution: VDMP streamlines the dispute resolution process, allowing merchants to address disputes promptly and minimize operational disruptions.
  • Cost Savings: Avoiding chargebacks and efficiently resolving disputes can save merchants money associated with fees and penalties.
  • Insights for Improvement: The program provides merchants with valuable data and trends related to disputes, allowing them to identify areas for improvement in their processes and customer experience.

Visa Fraud Monitoring Program (VFMP)

The Visa Fraud Monitoring Program (VFMP) is a robust system designed by Visa, one of the leading payment card networks, to detect and prevent fraudulent activities in merchant transactions. It aims to protect both cardholders and merchants from financial losses due to fraudulent transactions.

How VFMP Works

  • Transaction Monitoring: VFMP employs advanced algorithms and machine learning techniques to analyze transaction data in real-time. It examines various parameters such as transaction amount, frequency, location, and cardholder behavior patterns to identify suspicious activities.
  • Risk Scoring: Each transaction is assigned a risk score based on its likelihood of being fraudulent. This scoring system helps VFMP prioritize high-risk transactions for immediate attention.
  • Fraud Detection: VFMP compares the transaction data against known patterns of fraud, including historical fraud data and fraud trends in the industry. If a transaction matches a fraudulent pattern, it is flagged for further investigation.
  • Alerts and Notifications: When VFMP detects a potentially fraudulent transaction, it generates alerts and notifies the merchant in real-time. These alerts provide merchants with valuable information to assess the transaction's legitimacy and take appropriate action.

Benefits for Merchants

  • Fraud Prevention: VFMP acts as a proactive defense against fraudulent transactions, helping merchants minimize financial losses and chargebacks associated with fraud.
  • Enhanced Security: By leveraging Visa's extensive network and fraud intelligence, VFMP provides an additional layer of security to protect merchants and their customers' sensitive payment data.
  • Improved Reputation: Participating in VFMP demonstrates a merchant's commitment to maintaining a secure and trustworthy business environment, enhancing their reputation among customers and partners.
  • Cost Savings: Effective fraud prevention through VFMP reduces the need for costly manual reviews and potential liability for fraudulent transactions, resulting in significant cost savings for merchants.

Mastercard Excessive Chargeback Program (ECP)

The Mastercard Excessive Chargeback Program (ECP) is a monitoring program designed to address the issue of excessive chargebacks faced by merchants. Chargebacks occur when customers dispute transactions and request a refund directly from their card issuer. Excessive chargebacks can have a detrimental impact on merchants, leading to financial losses and damage to their reputations.

The primary objective of the ECP is to help merchants reduce the occurrence of chargebacks by identifying and addressing the underlying issues that contribute to them. By participating in the program, merchants gain access to valuable insights and tools to proactively manage chargebacks and improve their overall transaction experience.

How ECP Works

Under the ECP, Mastercard monitors the chargeback levels of participating merchants to identify those experiencing an excessive number of chargebacks. The program sets specific thresholds for chargeback ratios, and when a merchant exceeds these thresholds, they may be subject to penalties or additional monitoring.

Merchants enrolled in the ECP receive notifications and alerts when their chargeback levels approach or exceed the established thresholds. These notifications serve as an early warning system, allowing merchants to take prompt action to address the underlying issues leading to chargebacks. By proactively managing chargebacks, merchants can prevent further financial losses and maintain a healthy relationship with their customers.

Benefits for Merchants

Participating in the ECP offers several benefits for merchants:

  • Chargeback Reduction: The ECP provides insights into the root causes of chargebacks, enabling merchants to implement effective measures to minimize their occurrence.
  • Financial Protection: By addressing excessive chargebacks, merchants can protect their revenue and avoid financial penalties associated with high chargeback levels.
  • Customer Satisfaction: Proactive management of chargebacks leads to improved customer satisfaction and trust, enhancing the overall shopping experience and fostering customer loyalty.

Mastercard Excessive Fraud Merchant Compliance Program (EFM)

The Mastercard Excessive Fraud Merchant Compliance Program (EFM) is a proactive initiative designed to combat excessive fraud in merchant transactions. This program aims to protect cardholders, financial institutions, and merchants by identifying and addressing high levels of fraudulent activity.

How EFM Works

  • Identification: Mastercard analyzes transaction data to identify merchants with a high incidence of fraudulent activity. This includes analyzing chargeback rates, fraud-to-sales ratios, and other relevant metrics.
  • Notification: Merchants identified as having excessive fraud levels are notified by Mastercard about their inclusion in the EFM program. This notification serves as an opportunity for merchants to take corrective action and improve their fraud prevention measures.
  • Compliance Requirements: Merchants enrolled in the EFM program must comply with certain requirements set by Mastercard. These requirements typically involve implementing enhanced fraud detection and prevention measures to reduce the occurrence of fraudulent transactions.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation: Mastercard closely monitors the merchant's compliance with the EFM program requirements. Ongoing monitoring ensures that merchants maintain effective fraud prevention measures and reduce fraudulent activity to an acceptable level.

Benefits for Merchants

  • Enhanced Fraud Protection: By participating in the EFM program, merchants benefit from a comprehensive framework that helps them identify and address excessive fraud. This, in turn, protects their business from financial losses and reputational damage caused by fraudulent transactions.
  • Reduced Chargebacks: Implementing stronger fraud prevention measures can significantly reduce chargebacks, which can be costly for merchants. Compliance with the EFM program requirements helps merchants minimize chargeback rates and associated expenses.
  • Trust and Confidence: Being part of the EFM program demonstrates a merchant's commitment to security and fraud prevention. This commitment helps build trust among customers, financial institutions, and payment processors, leading to increased customer confidence and loyalty.

Mastercard Chargeback Monitoring Program

The Mastercard Chargeback Monitoring Program (CMP) is a proactive initiative developed by Mastercard to address and manage chargeback-related issues in merchant transactions. This program aims to protect the interests of cardholders, financial institutions, and merchants by effectively managing and reducing chargeback rates.

How CMP Works?

  • Chargeback Analysis: Mastercard analyzes transaction data to identify merchants with elevated chargeback rates. Chargebacks occur when cardholders dispute transactions with their issuing bank, often due to issues like fraud, product dissatisfaction, or processing errors.
  • Merchant Notification: When a merchant's chargeback rates exceed acceptable thresholds, Mastercard notifies the merchant about their inclusion in the CMP. This notification serves as an opportunity for the merchant to take corrective actions and improve their business practices to reduce chargebacks.
  • Compliance Requirements: Merchants enrolled in the CMP must comply with specific requirements set by Mastercard. These requirements typically involve implementing measures to address the root causes of chargebacks and prevent them from occurring in the future.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation: Mastercard closely monitors the merchant's chargeback performance while enrolled in the CMP. Ongoing monitoring ensures that the merchant makes significant efforts to reduce chargebacks and improve customer satisfaction.

Benefits for Merchants

  • Chargeback Reduction: By participating in the CMP, merchants benefit from targeted insights into their chargeback patterns and root causes. This knowledge enables them to implement effective strategies to minimize chargebacks, leading to cost savings and improved profitability.
  • Improved Business Practices: Through the CMP's compliance requirements, merchants are encouraged to assess and enhance their business processes, customer service, and fraud prevention measures. This, in turn, leads to better customer experiences and increased customer retention.
  • Maintaining Cardholder Trust: The CMP demonstrates a merchant's commitment to resolving chargeback issues and providing a more secure and reliable shopping experience for cardholders. By actively participating and complying with the program, merchants can instill trust and confidence in their customers, leading to increased loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.
  • Avoiding Penalties: High chargeback rates can result in financial penalties for merchants. By taking part in the CMP and actively working to reduce chargebacks, merchants can avoid or mitigate potential penalties, safeguarding their financial stability.

Comparing Merchant Monitoring Programs

Merchant monitoring programs play a crucial role in safeguarding transactions and protecting businesses from fraud and chargebacks. When it comes to choosing the right program for your business, it's important to understand the key similarities and differences between the available options.

1. Key Similarities

  • Network Affiliation: Both Visa and Mastercard offer comprehensive monitoring programs to their merchants, highlighting their commitment to transaction security.
  • Objectives: The primary goal of these programs is to identify and mitigate fraud, disputes, and excessive chargebacks to protect the interests of merchants and payment card networks.
  • Monitoring Mechanisms: Both Visa's Dispute Monitoring Program (VDMP) and Mastercard's Excessive Chargeback Program (ECP) utilize sophisticated monitoring systems to track and analyze transaction data for potential risks.

2. Key Differences

  • Focus Area: Visa's VFMP and Mastercard's EFM concentrate on monitoring and preventing fraudulent transactions specifically, while VDMP and ECP address a broader range of risks, including disputes and excessive chargebacks.
  • Thresholds and Triggers: The specific thresholds and triggers used by each program to identify potential risks may vary. Visa and Mastercard may have different criteria for flagging transactions as fraudulent or excessive chargebacks.
  • Compliance Requirements: Each program has its own set of compliance requirements that merchants must meet. These requirements may include maintaining a specific chargeback ratio or implementing additional security measures.

3. Choosing the Right Program for Your Business

When selecting a merchant monitoring program, consider the following factors:

  • Risk Profile: Assess the nature of your business and the types of risks you are likely to encounter. If fraud is a major concern, programs like VFMP and EFM may be more suitable. For broader risk coverage, VDMP and ECP can provide comprehensive monitoring.
  • Payment Card Network: If you predominantly process Visa transactions, VDMP and VFMP would align well with your network affiliation. Similarly, ECP and EFM are tailored for merchants accepting Mastercard payments.
  • Compliance Readiness: Evaluate your ability to meet the compliance requirements of each program. Consider the resources, infrastructure, and processes needed to maintain program compliance effectively.

By carefully comparing the features, focus, and compatibility of different merchant monitoring programs, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your business needs and enhances transaction security.


Average Dispute Amount
Average Dispute Amount
# Disputes Per Month
# Disputes Per Month
Time Spent Per Dispute
Time Spent Per Dispute
You could recover
$500,000 and save
1,000 hours every month with Chargeflow!
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Want to learn how Chargeflow can recover more money for you? Sign up and get a free dispute analysis

Related Articles

What's Chargeflow?

Try it for free

Full Dispute Automation

No more manual work, Chargeflow fully-automates your dispute process from A to Z.

Simple Integrations

We use official and secure API's from our approved partners. We also made it extremely easy to connect.


You get charged only when we help settle a dispute in your favor.


ChargeResponse® uses smart algorithms to generate the most comprehensive evidence response, with industry-leading recovery rates.


ChargeScore® uses proprietary algorithms to determine the chance of recovering each dispute.

Actionable Analytics

In-depth disputes statistics at your fingertips.

Built for eCommerce

Made by DTC Entrepreneurs, for DTC Entrepreneurs.


OAuth 2.0, 128 Bit SSL, secure data encryption, official, secure API's. We have them all, and more.

Get Started with Chargeflow

Chargeflow helps you focus on your business without the burden of disputes, chargebacks and fraud holding you back.

With a fully-featured, automated dispute management solution that offers flexible workflows and unique features such as ChargeScore®, ChargeResponse®, along with our ROI guarantee and actionable analytics, all of your dispute needs are met in one simple platform.