How to Get Off The MATCH List: Most Common Questions
If you have discovered that you are on the MATCH List and have a million questions, you are not alone. Being placed on the MATCH List can have devastating consequences for you, your business, your business partners, your family, and your future. As MATCH List removal experts, we have compiled the most commonly asked questions from people when they are first placed on the MATCH List. Keep reading to learn more about the MATCH List, how you may have gotten on it, what to do now, and most importantly, how to get off the MATCH List.
What Is The MATCH List?
MATCH stands for Member Alert to Control High-Risk Merchants. The list is a powerful national database that contains information about merchants and their principals whose credit card processing privileges have been terminated for cause. MasterCard Worldwide created and maintains the MATCH list, which is also commonly referred to as the Terminated Merchant File (TMF).
It exists because it serves as an industry blacklist that identifies merchants whose payment processing services have previously been terminated for certain enumerated reasons. Acquirers consult this list when evaluating whether to take on a merchant’s business. For acquirers, Mastercard Alert To Control High-risk Merchants (MATCH) lets an acquiring partner look up whether another acquiring partner has terminated a merchant in the past and the reason for said termination, to help with an onboarding decision.
More benefits of The MATCH List for acquirers include:
- Add terminated merchant: Add merchants who have been terminated for specific reasons to MATCH
- Dynamic merchant search: Designate regions/countries and use multiple fields to determine possible matches
- Principal owner search: Add and search for information about up to five principal owners per merchant inquiry
- Terminated merchant inquiry: Inquire about a merchant to find out if they have been previously added to MATCH
- Retroactive alerts: Receive retroactive alerts if a merchant previously inquired about is added to MATCH within 360 days of the initial inquiry
How Did I Get On The MATCH List?
While the MATCH List serves a great purpose for acquirers to weed out companies they might not want to work with, the results can be devastating to businesses. Some of the reasons a business gets placed on the MATCH List may not even be due to any fault of their own.
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.
Who Put Me On The MATCH List?
It is impossible to find out who, specifically, has placed you on the MATCH List. However, credit card processors are generally the ones who place merchants on the MATCH List. This is because credit card processors are in charge of monitoring accounts and they can easily detect if one of the above codes has been violated.
How Long Will I Be On The MATCH List?
Once your business information, personal information, business partner’s information, and associate’s information have been entered into the MATCH List database, they will remain there for a period of five years. After five years, all of this information will be “aged out” and erased so that you can go back to business as usual. However, waiting this long period of time is very unrealistic for most businesses. If you suspect you’ve been placed on the list in error and can prove that you can follow all the security codes, you may be removed early.
Can I Still Run My Business While On The MATCH List?
It is possible to still run your business while on The MATCH List, however, it may be difficult. This is because you won’t be able to use your merchant account. That means you won’t be able to process credit cards, which is the primary way that people choose to pay for things. Some options include:
- Becoming a cash-only business, which drastically weeds out the customers who will be willing to purchase from you
- Partnering with a high-risk processor, which comes with very high rates and long contracts
- Attempting removal from the MATCH List before the five-year waiting period is over
How Do I Get Off The MATCH List?
If you cannot wait five years to become automatically removed from The MATCH List, you can attempt removal early. If you believe you have been placed on the list in error, have become a victim of identity theft, or otherwise believe you can prove your security compliance, you may have a good chance of early removal. This is a difficult process, and the experts at TFM Law can help you.
MATCH List Removal Process with TFM Law
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, University of Kentucky, and is a member of the California State Bar and the Kentucky State Bar.
For more information on The MATCH List and to start your removal process today, visit us at howtogetoffmatch.com