What is Visa Merchant Purchase Inquiry (VMPI)?

  • Max Jones
  • March 18, 2018
  • 3 minutes

Visa Merchant Purchase Inquiry (VMPI) is a chargeback and dispute prevention mechanism. It is one component of the new Visa Claims Resolution (VCR) initiative and helps fulfill the objective to streamline and simplify the dispute-resolution workflow.

VMPI has the potential to usher in significant benefits for issuers, acquirers, processors, and merchants—but only if the initiative and its implications are fully understood and embraced.

What is VMPI?

Visa recognized that the current process for managing chargebacks and disputes is outdated. The card network set out to create a more modern, streamlined approach; the result was Visa Claims Resolution (VCR).

In order to achieve its goals, VCR must rely heavily on automated technology. One automated component of VCR is VMPI—a platform that enables issuers to communicate directly with merchants to exchange detailed transaction data in real time.

The purpose of VMPI is to equip issuers with the information they need to “talk off” disputes before they occur.

Issuers, acquirers, and merchants are highly encouraged to utilize this platform for dispute prevention, but participation isn’t required.

Participating merchants can respond to VMPI with a credit notice, a transaction inquiry response, or both.

VMPI Outcome #1: Credit Notice

VMPI alerts the merchant that the cardholder has an issue with the transaction in question. If the merchant realizes the purchase was, in fact, handled improperly or there isn’t sufficient evidence to validate the transaction, the merchant has the option to refund the cardholder in real time.

If the merchant responds to a VMPI with a credit notice, the issuer may consider the dispute resolved.

Refunding the transaction forfeits revenue, but should prevent the dispute.

VMPI Outcome #2: Transaction Inquiry Response

If the merchant doesn’t want to immediately refund the transaction and sacrifice revenue, a Transaction Inquiry Response can be submitted. This will share detailed transaction information with the issuer and can potentially stop the claim from progressing to a dispute.

VMPI as a Part of VCR

What is Visa Merchant Purchase Inquiry? Essentially, VMPI is one small piece of a bigger chargeback puzzle.

VMPI is one of the first stages in the dispute-resolution process. It is an attempt to resolve the issue without investing significant amounts of time or money. However, it isn’t the only recourse issuers and merchants have at their disposal.

If VMPI doesn’t successfully resolve the cardholder’s issue, the merchant doesn’t respond in time, or the merchant isn’t enrolled in VMPI, the case will progress to prevention alerts or VCR.

The full VCR workflow, incorporating VMPI, is as follows. An interactive explanation can also be found 

(click image to zoom)

Should Merchants Sign Up for VMPI?

VMPI has the potential to significantly reduce the number of disputes a merchant sustains and help keep dispute-to-transaction ratios in check.

While Visa has identified the following merchants as ideal candidates for VMPI, any card-not-present merchant would benefit from VMPI:

  • Merchants who receive high volumes of disputes categorized as unrecognized transaction or fraud
  • Merchants with vague or difficult-to-recognize billing descriptors
  • Merchants with low-dollar transactions
  • Merchants who sell digital goods
  • Merchants who sell products using negative option billing or trial offers

Visa sees great potential in this initiative. However, some industry members are overwhelmed by the integration process and feel the benefits don’t justify the effort. Fortunately, there is a simple solution.

Midigator® simplifies the dispute process for the entire payment ecosystem.

By accessing VMPI thorough Midigator, merchants can experience maximum chargeback prevention without any hassle. With just one integration, merchants can access VMPI, prevention alerts, and VCR-compliant dispute responses from a single portal.

If you’d like to learn more, contact Midigator today for a 

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Stay Up-to-Date on Visa Programs

The VMPI process will likely undergo various updates as the industry transitions to the new dispute resolution style. It is important that everyone involved—issuers, acquirers, processors, and merchants—be on the lookout for policy updates and make necessary changes promptly.

 We’ll keep you informed about Visa program updates and share everything else you could possibly need to know about chargebacks, disputes and risk mitigation.


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