3 Ways to Avoid The Match List and 3 Ways to Get Off The Match List
As a merchant, being placed on the MATCH List can mean the end of your business if you don’t act. It is an industry black list of merchants that have been deemed high-risk through inappropriate conduct and business ethics. Your business, your partners, associates, and you, will no longer be able to process payments for five years. The severity of the MATCH List makes it very important to do everything you can to avoid being placed on it in the first place. Keep reading for three ways to avoid the MATCH List and three ways to get off the MATCH List if you have found yourself on it.
What is The Match List?
MATCH stands for Member Alert to Control High-Risk Merchants. This list is a comprehensive database chock-full of information about your business and you, making it impossible to find a loophole to keep your business running. It was created by and is still managed by Mastercard. Inquiring banks check the MATCH List to screen merchant applicants before working with them. It helps determine their risk prior to opening a merchant account for them.
How to Avoid The Match List
As a merchant, one of the best things you can do for your business is avoid being placed on the MATCH List. Ignorance of the rules does not make you innocent — it is essential to do your due diligence as a business owner. Ways to avoid the MATCH List include understanding the regulations, staying compliant, and minimizing chargebacks as much as possible.
Understand The 14 Reason Codes
There are a total of 14 reasons why merchants get placed on the MATCH List. Knowing these will be the first step to avoid being placed on the MATCH List. Make sure you refer to them often, and keep up-to-date with everything.
The 13 reason codes are as follows, according to Mastercard themselves:
- Account Data Compromise: An occurrence that results, directly or indirectly, in the unauthorized access to or disclosure of Account data.
- Common Point of Purchase (CPP): Account data is stolen at the Merchant and then used for fraudulent purchases at other Merchant locations.
- Laundering: The Merchant was engaged in laundering activity. Laundering means that a Merchant presented to its Acquirer Transaction records that were not valid Transactions for sales of goods or services between that Merchant and a bona fide Cardholder.
- Excessive Chargebacks: With respect to a Merchant reported by a Mastercard Acquirer, the number of Mastercard chargebacks in any single month exceeded 1% of the number of Mastercard sales Transactions in that month, and those chargebacks totaled USD 5,000 or more.
- With respect to a merchant reported by an American Express acquirer (ICA numbers 102 through 125), the merchant exceeded the chargeback thresholds of American Express,as determined by American Express.
- Excessive Fraud: The Merchant effected fraudulent Transactions of any type (counterfeit or otherwise) meeting or exceeding the following minimum reporting Standard: the Merchant’s fraud-to-sales dollar volume ratio was 8% or greater in a calendar month, and the Merchant effected 10 or more fraudulent Transactions totaling USD 5,000 or more in that calendar month.
- Fraud Conviction: There was a criminal fraud conviction of a principal owner or partner of the Merchant.
- Mastercard Questionable Merchant Audit Program: The Merchant was determined to be a Questionable Merchant as per the criteria set forth in the Mastercard Questionable Merchant Audit Program (refer to section 8.4 of this manual).
- Bankruptcy/Liquidation/Insolvency: The Merchant was unable or is likely to become unable to discharge its financial obligations.
- Violation of Standards: With respect to a Merchant reported by a Mastercard Acquirer, the Merchant was in violation of one or more Standards that describe procedures to be employed by the Merchant in Transactions in which Cards are used, including, by way of example and not Cardholders, minimum/maximum Transaction amount restrictions, and prohibited Transactions set forth in Chapter 5 of the Mastercard Rules manual.
- With respect to a merchant reported by an American Express acquirer (ICA numbers 102 through 125), the merchant was in violation of one or more American Express bylaws, rules, operating regulations, and policies that set forth procedures to be employed by the merchant in transactions in which American Express cards are used.
- Merchant Collusion: The Merchant participated in fraudulent collusive activity.
- PCI Data Security Standard Noncompliance: The Merchant failed to comply with Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard requirements.
- Illegal Transactions: The Merchant was engaged in illegal Transactions.
- Identity Theft: The Acquirer has reason to believe that the identity of the listed Merchant or its principal owner(s) was unlawfully assumed for the purpose of unlawfully entering into a Merchant Agreement.
Of the above thirteen reasons you can be placed on the MATCH List, number 12 (PCI Data Security Standard Noncompliance) is one of the easiest ways to get off the MATCH List. It is also the easiest way to avoid getting on the TMF List (another name for The MATCH List) in the first place. All you have to do is become compliant, stay compliant, and prove yourself. If you become compliant and stay compliant, you significantly reduce the risk of ever being placed on the MATCH List.
In addition to reason code 12, reason code 4 is the next most straightforward way to avoid being placed on the MATCH List. Excessive chargebacks can quickly place you on the MATCH List for a variety of reasons. Chargebacks will happen, but minimizing them and keeping your chargeback rate to under 2% is ideal. Ways you can minimize chargebacks include:
- Provide great customer service
- Ensure timely shipping
- Provide goods and services exactly as advertised
- Have a quality product
How To Get Off The Match List
If you have been placed on The MATCH List, you will have to wait five years before you are removed. This process is called being aged out of the MATCH List; however, it is almost impossible for a small business to survive five years without a merchant account. As such, you will need to focus your efforts on finding how to get off the MATCH List.
There are three primary ways to get off the MATCH List, other than waiting out the five-year aging out process. They include:
- Talk to your acquirer. Many times, calling your acquirer to see why you were placed on the MATCH List in the first place can help you figure out how to get off.
- Prove your compliance. If you are compliant with reason code 12 or reason code 4 and you believe your acquirer has made a mistake in adding you to the MATCH List, you can provide documentation for a chance of your removal.
- Seek professional guidance from TFM Law. If you have been added to the MATCH List by mistake, were a victim of fraud, or any other reason, we can help you get removed from The Match List.
About TFM Law
You do not have to wait the five year aging out period in order to get off the MATCH List. With professional help from The Law Offices of Theodore Monroe, we can help get your business back up and running quickly. Our firm focuses on litigation and counseling in the areas of payments, credit card processing, e-commerce, direct response marketing, and Federal Trade Commission enforcement. Last year, the firm got 100% of the people who came to us off the MATCH list and we can help you too.
Theodore F. Monroe, Founder of TFM Law, has successfully:
- Represented merchants recovering funds from processors
- Structured processing relationships to comply with Card Brand requirements
- Drafted and negotiated contracts involving payment facilitators and ISOs
- Represented continuity merchants in compliance and litigation issues
- Fought for numerous companies in suits brought by the Federal Trade Commission and obtained excellent results for firms in
- the digital products, loan modification, government grant, and nutraceuticals industries
Before opening his firm, Mr. Monroe practiced law with Crosby, Heafey, Roach & May (now Reed Smith LLP) and Lewis, D’Amato, Brisbois & Bisgaard (now Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith), where he defended numerous accounting and law firms in professional liability actions, and insurance carriers in bad faith actions.
Before becoming a lawyer, Mr. Monroe worked as a forensic accountant at Coopers & Lybrand, which provided him with a background in forensic accounting and financial analysis that is unique among litigators in Los Angeles. Mr. Monroe studied at Duke University Law School, achieved a BS with Honors, Accounting, University of Kentucky, and is a member of the California State Bar and the Kentucky State Bar.
For more information and to start the process of removal from the MATCH List, visit howtogetoffmatch.com.