If you have found yourself and your business on the MATCH List, you are finding some serious consequences that come along with it. Losing your merchant account privileges can be devastating for any small business. There are 13 reasons why you may have been placed on the MATCH List, and some of them could be through no fault of your own. Navigating the waters of the MATCH List and figuring out how to get off of it can be very difficult. Luckily, help is available and ways to get off the list early. Keep reading to learn more about the MATCH List and how to get off the MATCH List so that you can get back to business.
According to Stripe, 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.
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 make sure 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.
Stripe continues that When a relationship ends between a business and a credit card processor, the processor must determine whether the business meets the criteria to be placed on MATCH. If any MATCH criteria are satisfied, the processor must add information about the business to MATCH within one business day of termination or within one business day of the account becoming eligible for MATCH after termination.
As mentioned earlier in this blog, there are 13 reason codes that processors must make sure their merchants follow at all times, as the processors are required by Mastercard to do so. This makes it difficult when attempting removal because your credit card processor needs to follow the rules as well. In fact, it is almost impossible for credit card processors to remove a business from the MATCH List.
The 13 reasons your business may have landed on the MATCH List include:
There isn’t anything your credit card processor can do once you have been placed on the MATCH List, other than possibly giving you more information about why you have been placed on that—and even that, they are not required to do.
A processor can only remove a MATCH entry if the processor added the business to MATCH in error, or the listing is for MATCH reason code 12 (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard Noncompliance) and the processor has confirmed that the business has become compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.
In addition, there is no loophole to changing your business name or opening a new business in order to open a new merchant account and continue accepting credit cards. The MATCH List is comprehensive and contains a lot of information about the business and its owners. Specifically, the information listed on the MATCH List includes:
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 can be devastating. While there are other ways to accept payments as you sort through getting off the MATCH List, not many of them are sustainable.
There are essentially two ways to get off the MATCH List. They include waiting the five-year waiting period or getting help for early removal.
The “punishment” for being placed on the MATCH List is losing merchant account privileges for up to five years. After the five-year waiting period is up, all traces of you and your business ever having been on the list are erased, and you can return to business as usual. You can think of it as being “aged out” of the list, and the dark cloud that has followed you around will finally be gone.
However, this can be very difficult for most—if not every—small business to endure. The ability to accept credit cards is essential to everyday businesses nowadays, and it can be very damaging to your reputation if you can no longer do so.
Luckily, there is an easier way to get off the MATCH List than waiting five years. Help is available to get your business removed early. 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 on 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. However, as mentioned, this can be very difficult. If you can demonstrate to the payment company that your conduct does not meet the requirements for the MATCH listing, you may have a good shot. For example, 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.
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.
Finally, 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.
The Law Offices of Theodore Monroe can work as your advocate for efficient removal, as quickly as possible.
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:
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 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.