Is Getting Off The MATCH List Hard?December 1, 2022
Why the MATCH List Was Created & 3 Tips to Avoid ItJanuary 22, 2023
How Long Do You Stay On The MATCH List?
As a business owner, you are well aware of the fact that your merchant account is the livelihood of your business. Without it, it would be very difficult to conduct business. That is why being placed on the MATCH List can be so devastating—it can cause your business to go out of business, leaving you and your family’s financial security in big trouble. If you have just found yourself on the MATCH List, you might be wondering: How Long Do You Stay On The MATCH List? Keep reading to learn more about the MATCH List, how long you stay on it, and how to get early removal from the MATCH List from experts who can help.
What is The MATCH List?
Short version: The MATCH List is a comprehensive list of businesses that have been essentially blacklisted from card networks, such as Visa and Mastercard, and have lost their credit card processing privileges.
Card networks, such as Visa and Mastercard , operate databases known as Terminated Merchant Files (TMFs) that contain information about accounts that have been closed by credit card processors around the world for high chargebacks or violations of card brand rules, according to Stripe.
All payment processors must check these databases when accepting a new user and must also add merchants to the database if they close the account and it meets TMF criteria. Being placed on a TMF can have serious effects. While they’re only supposed to be informational tools during the account application process, many entities refuse to accept businesses or individuals listed on a TMF. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of TMF criteria and ensure you avoid becoming eligible.
The most common list—and the only one with global reach—is Mastercard’s MATCH, or the Mastercard Alert to Control High-Risk Merchants. In the following sections, we describe how MATCH qualification works and what happens to MATCH entries.
How Do You Get On The MATCH List?
There are many reasons your business may be on the MATCH List. In fact, there are, specifically, 13 reasons your business may have landed on it. Interestingly, some of these reasons may be through no fault of your own. Identity theft, security breaches, disgruntled employees, and more can get even the most honest of businesses on the MATCH List. As such, it is important to know what these 13 reasons are and how to protect yourself from it happening to you.
The 13 reasons your business may have landed on the MATCH List include:
- Account Data Compromise
- Common Point of Purchase
- Fraud Conviction
- Excessive Chargebacks
- Excessive Fraud
- Mastercard Questionable Merchant Audit Program
- Violation of Standards
- Merchant Collusion
- PCIDSS Non-Compliance
- Illegal Transactions
- Identity Theft
How Long Do You Stay On The MATCH List?
Once you have been placed on the MATCH List, you remain there for five years. After the five-year waiting period, you are erased from the MATCH List, and it’s like it never happened. At this point, you can get a credit card processor, reopen your merchant account, and go back to conducting business as usual.
However, waiting a five-year waiting period can be very difficult for most businesses, especially small businesses. The inability to accept credit card payments can affect businesses in so many ways, including:
- The loss of trust from customers or potential customers when told a business is cash-only
- The inability of customers to pay when told a business is cash-only or does not accept credit cards
- Loss of income and potential income
- Damaging reputation
- Shutting the business down
Can You Get Off The Match List Early?
Yes! You CAN get off the MATCH List early. There are three ways to get off the MATCH List early:
- Inquire and Explain. If you are placed on the MATCH list, find out why. If you are you be working with an agent to find processing, the agent can run an inquiry to find out who placed you on the list and the reason code associated with the listing. This will help guide you as to the best way to get off the list. Usually, your best shot at getting removed from MATCH is to persuade the processor who placed you on the list that you should be removed. This means demonstrating to the payment company that your conduct does not meet the requirements for the MATCH listing. For instance, your chargeback rate did not exceed 1%, or you did not engage in “excessive fraud” as defined by the rules. In any case, having experienced, professional representation can be a major advantage in getting your name removed.
- Mastercard removal. MasterCard will occasionally remove someone from the list on its own. For example, sometimes, acquirers put merchants on the list for small charges such as failing to pay an early termination fee. This is not a valid reason to put a merchant on MATCH, and the brands will normally be receptive to removing you if you demonstrate that this is the reason.
- Get expert help. When persuasion doesn’t work, consider a lawsuit. In certain instances, lawsuits or arbitrations can lead the acquirer to remove a merchant from the MATCH list. Lawsuits, however, can be expensive, and a small merchant typically will not get a positive return on investment by taking this approach. The Law Offices of Theodore Monroe can work as your advocate for efficient removal as quickly as possible.
I Am On The MATCH List: What Happens Now?
Once you are on the MATCH List, you can no longer use your merchant account to process credit card payments. This leaves businesses in a difficult place and often leads to businesses closing and significant income loss. While there are other ways to accept payments as you sort through getting off the MATCH List, not many of them are sustainable.
The information listed on the MATCH List includes:
- Business Legal Name and DBA
- Business Address
- Business Phone Number
- Business Tax ID
- Business URL
- Principal Owner Name
- Principal Owner Address
- Principal Owner Phone Number
- Principal Owner Tax ID
- Account Opening Date and Termination Date
- MATCH Reason Code
Excessive chargebacks are one of the most common reasons that businesses are placed on the MATCH List. This is when a customer reaches out to their credit card company to reverse a charge they disagree with. While this is normal to happen from time to time, it cannot become excessive. What is considered excessive? According to Stripe, take the following sample data from a calendar month:
- Number of Mastercard transactions: 125
- Number of Mastercard chargebacks: 6
- Ratio of chargebacks to transactions: (6/125) = 4.8%
- Volume of Mastercard chargebacks: $6250
In this case, the business would qualify for MATCH for excessive chargebacks if the processing relationship later terminates. It does not matter if chargebacks are later reversed or won by the merchant.
How Can I Get Help to Get Off The MATCH List?
There is good news: YOU CAN GET OFF THE MATCH LIST EARLY. You do not have to wait the full five-year waiting period in order to get your information erased, your merchant account reopened, and your business back up and running. All you need to do is reach out to us: Last year, we got a 100% of the people who came to us off the MATCH list.
Get Off MATCH With TFM Law
Not sure where to go for help getting off of the MATCH List? If you have found yourself on the Match List, we can help you. The Law Offices of Theodore Monroe 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.
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, the University of Kentucky, and is a member of the California State Bar and the Kentucky State Bar.
For more information on the MATCH List, how to get off the MATCH List, and more information to get through this tough time, visit us at howtogetoffmatch.com