Visa Integrity Risk Program (VIRP)

Card associations develop and implement controls and oversight to protect the payment ecosystem and their brands from fraudulent or illegal activity. These programs benefit all participants by reducing regulatory and legal risks while preserving the integrity of the payment process.

In May 2023, Visa replaced its Global Brand Protection Program (GBPP) with the new Visa Integrity Risk Program (VIRP).

High-Integrity Risk (HIR)

Under VIRP, Visa categorizes merchants as High-Integrity Risk (HIR) if they operate in industries historically burdened with higher levels of fraud, chargebacks, returns, and refunds. Merchants identified as HIR are subject to additional reporting obligations, stricter monitoring, and enhanced security protocols to mitigate these risks.

It is important to note that being classified as a HIR merchant by Visa does not necessarily mean your business is inherently prone to chargebacks. Instead, this classification reflects the perceived risk level of your business model and the Merchant Category Code (MCC) under which your business is categorized.

Note: A Merchant Category Code (MCC) is a four-digit number used to classify a business entity based on the type of goods or services the company provides.

MCC Tiers

VIRP categorizes HIR merchants into three tiers based on Merchant Category Codes (MCC), with Tier 1 being the highest risk:

Tier 1

5967Direct Marketing - Inbound Teleservices Merchant
(e.g., website subscriptions, video streaming)
7273Dating services (e.g., online classifieds, monthly subscriptions)
7995Betting (e.g., games of chance, sports betting)
Drugs, Drug Proprietaries, Drug Stores (Sales of prescription-required drugs)

Tier 2

Cryptocurrency (Transactions, wallets, ICOs)
4816Cyberlockers (Digital file-sharing, content payment)
5816Digital Goods - Games (Entry fees, skill-based outcomes)

Tier 3

6211Financial trading (Binary options, forex, spread betting, ICOs)
5966Telemarketing (Outbound services, customer education)
5968Subscription merchants (Negative-option billing)
5993Tobacco products (Cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vaping devices)

Note: Please be aware that CCBill does not support all the high-risk business models mentioned above. For more information, refer to CCBill's Acceptable Use Policy and Merchant Terms And Conditions.

VIRP Update (April 2024)

An acquirer must register each High-Integrity Risk account with Visa before allowing the merchant to accept payments. Visa has announced that it will increase registration fees and introduce additional charges for merchants within the VIRP scope.

The following changes will be effective from April 1, 2024:

Registration Fee

The initial non-refundable merchant application fee will increase from $500 to $950.

Visa Integrity Risk Fee

A new fixed fee of $0.10 per transaction and a variable fee of 10 basis points will be applied for the following merchant category codes (MCCs):

  • 5967 - Direct Marketing - Inbound Teleservices Merchant
  • 7273 - Dating Services
  • 7995 - Betting, including Lottery Tickets, Casino Gaming Chips, Off-Track Betting, and wagers at Racetracks.

For example, if a transaction is worth $20, merchants will incur the following fees:

1. Per Transaction Fee. Regardless of the transaction size, a fixed fee of $0.10 is added to the payment amount.

2. Percentage Fee Based on Payment Volume (Basis Points). One basis point equals 1/100th of a percent, or 0.01%. The Visa fee is ten basis points or 0.10% of the transaction volume. For a $20 transaction, this equates to 0.10% of $20, which is $0.02.

The total additional fee would be the sum of the per-transaction fee and the percentage fee:

Transaction Amount$20.00
Per Transaction Fee$0.10
Percentage Fee (0.10%)$0.02
Total Fee$0.12

Managing Consumer Complaints

According to VIRP requirements, HIR merchants must implement a complaint submission process. Merchants are required to:

  • Allow website visitors to report content that may be illegal or violate Visa rules or requirements.
  • Review and resolve all reported complaints within 7 business days.
  • Remove illegal content immediately and notify their Acquirer(s).

To support our merchants, CCBill has streamlined the complaint submission process. Merchants can place the following link in an easily locatable location on their websites (such as the footer):

<a rel="nofollow" href="">Complaints/Takedown Request</a>

Once the consumer clicks the link:

1. The consumer is directed to a CCBill form to submit their complaint.

2. CCBill assesses the complaint for VIRP violations.

3. CCBill forwards the results to the merchant with a request to remove any violating content.

4. CCBill reports the results to the Acquirer bank.

Merchants with an existing submission method that complies with VIRP rules do not need to implement the CCBill process.

Updates regarding VIRP and other Visa products and services are regularly issued in the Visa Core Rules publication.