Payments Monitoring Made Easy: A Practical Guide to Canary by Pagos


Tomas Armellin


September 7, 2023

September 7, 2023

September 7, 2023

At Pagos, we understand that your payments data holds the key to better customer experience, revenue, and optimization. That’s why we work hard to continually improve Canary, a product that monitors your payments performance so you don’t have to. Canary by Pagos is our data anomaly detection solution, designed to unify payments data from various platforms into one place and custom programmed to notify you when critical metrics change unexpectedly. Similar to Peacock, Canary is constructed upon Pagos' data aggregation and standardization platform, making it exceptionally user-friendly. All you need to do to get started with Canary is connect your data (with our no-code integrations) and you can instantly begin monitoring payment channels, identifying consumer behavior patterns, and foreseeing potential avenues for business expansion. When you have our Canary alerting you to issues in your coal mine, you’ll never miss a growth opportunity again!

That being said, Canary employs several terms and concepts that might seem complex at first glance. In this blog post, we'll break down the critical vocabulary used in Canary, making it more accessible to everyone.

The primary action to take when using Canary is setting up triggers. But what is a trigger? What do we mean when we speak about configuring or building out triggers? A trigger is the set of conditions that, when met, spark Canary to send you an alert via email, Slack, or general webhook. You can think of them as fully customizable instructions for telling Canary what aspects of your payments data you want to keep an eye on. Ultimately, they’re at the heart of how this powerful tool can help your business automate responses to potential issues.

More technically, triggers define when a particular payments metric requires your attention because it has increased or decreased beyond a value you're comfortable with. In other words, you configure a trigger and when your data changes enough to "trip" that trigger, Canary squawks at you about the change (figuratively speaking). You can create triggers that alert you of changes to your full data set or just specific segments of data; for example, a trigger can alert you when your aggregate approval rate decreases below a specific value, or when only your approval rate for Visa transactions drops unexpectedly.

To view and manage all your existing triggers, click Triggers in the navigation bar. When you click on a trigger in the Trigger List on this page, a Trigger Details side panel opens containing all the fields configured to generate that trigger. You can learn more about setting up triggers in the Pagos Product Documentation. Now, let’s take a closer look at what the different trigger components mean and how we can take advantage of setting them correctly.


At the heart of every Canary trigger is a payments metric you want to monitor to ensure the health of your system and processes. You can set up triggers in Canary for a large number of metrics, from approvals and chargebacks to transactions and refunds. For many of these metrics, Canary provides a count, value, and rate version. For example, let's look at refunds as a key metric for your business. Say you’re interested in keeping refunds rate, count, and value as low as possible. As such, you could build out three separate Canary triggers, each monitoring a different metric:

  • Refund Rate - The percentage of total transactions refunded in a given time period, calculated by dividing the total number of refunds processed by the total number of transactions. 

  • Refunded Transaction Count - The total number of refunds processed in a given time period.

  • Refunded Transaction Value - The total value (in your business’s operating currency) of all refunded transaction in a given time period.

You can find similar metrics in Canary with rate, count, and value versions: chargebacks, declines, approvals, and more. Additionally, we designed different types of metrics that are also useful when tracking your payments performance. For example, Share of Declined Count, which tracks the percentage of total declined transactions with a specific decline code, and Transaction Count Velocity, which measures the period-over-period change of transaction count.


After you select a metric for your Canary trigger, you must select your threshold type. The threshold type is just as its name implies: the type of threshold Canary uses for the trigger. You have two options—simple and relative. If you want to set an exact minimum or maximum threshold value for your metric, beyond which you’d like to receive Canary alerts, you’d select the simple threshold type. If you instead just want to know if your metric has deviated above or below your data’s historical average, you’d use the relative threshold type. How you choose a threshold type for your trigger depends on how you and your organization think about your data

Keep in mind, regardless of the chosen threshold type, you need to also set a Direction for your trigger. This tells Canary if it should alert you when your metric crosses Above the threshold or Below it.

To learn more about threshold types and the situations where each type is most appropriate, see our Triggers guide.

Aggregation Period and Evaluation Time

For every trigger, you’ll define the Aggregation Period and select an Evaluation Time. The aggregation period is the period of time over which Canary will review the metric to determine if it crosses your chosen threshold and trips the trigger. You can think of this as how often you want to keep an eye on your data: do you want to see how the metric looks over the course of an hour? A day? A week?  . 

What you choose for the aggregation period then determines what options you can pick from for the evaluation time—or the exact times when Canary reviews your data for an event. For instance, if you select Day as your Aggregation Period, this is the time(s) each day (in the time zone specified in your account settings) when Canary reviews the metric and searches for an event from the last 24 hours. The same logic applies for selecting Hour, Month or Week aggregation periods. This is important because it allows you to focus your attention on specific and well-defined timeframes of your choice, according to your own business needs and specifications.


You can create Canary triggers that are as basic or complex as you want. For example, you can make a simple threshold trigger that just alerts you whenever your overall approval rate drops below 95%. But if you want to find out when a metric changes for a specific sub-section of your business, you can do that, too! That’s where trigger filters come in. 

In a similar way as how Peacock by Pagos allows you to filter your data by different parameters, you can select different filters of your choice when setting up a trigger in Canary. You can filter by decline code, BIN, card brand, merchant account ID, and many more. These filters serve as your way of telling Canary exactly which segments of your data you want to monitor for anomalies. Learn more about the available filter options in our documentation.

Maximizing Canary’s Potential

Understanding these essential terms in Canary by Pagos is crucial for effectively utilizing its payment pattern and anomaly detection capabilities. By simplifying this complex vocabulary, we hope to empower you to enhance your payments stack performance by effortlessly monitoring your data, automating issue detection, and taking quick action. Ready to get started?

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