The Perils of a MATCH List Merchant Account

The MATCH List Merchant Account Experience

Once you have been tagged as a MATCH List Merchant Account, the first thought is “escape.” But the concept of escape is much different from reality. Simply put, the merchant MATCH List, which is an acronym for Member Alert To Control High-Risk Merchants, is a confining web that offers few if any exit lanes. Though created by MasterCard and conceivably within its oversight, the MATCH List is dictated primarily by acquiring banks as a means to flag merchants whom they deem to be high-risk customers.

If you do find that your Merchant Account has found its way to the MATCH List, your typical sentence can be served for as long as five years, meaning that during that time you will not be able to process credit card payments or you will have to find a high-risk acquirer who is willing to extend those privileges to you, in exchange for exorbitant rates.

A Confusing Conundrum

The problem is that many merchants and businesses don’t even know if they’ve been added to the list until they are rejected when applying for a new account. Because the list lacks clarity in so many ways, there is no strategic blueprint for extricating yourself – especially if you attempt the task on your own.

A MATCH-listed merchant account’s only real chance for removal is with the help of an expert that has helped others through the process numerous times. TFM Law possesses vast experience in shepherding clients through the MATCH List maze. Our record of success is virtually flawless, and in most cases, we have been able to achieve the removal of our clients from the list without the need for litigation.

Needless to say, it is a lot easier to land on the MATCH list than to work your way off of it. So how did you get there, in the first place? Well, to know that first, you must determine who put you on the list. Usually, it is the ISO or processor overseeing risk monitoring for the account that makes the call. Unfortunately, that information is not readily available to the public. And most processors are tight-lipped about who put you there, as well as the circumstances surrounding that action.

Know What You’re Up Against

Now here’s the really frustrating part. There is no incentive for processors to take you off the list. And we know what happens when there is no incentive. In fact, it is more advantageous for them to keep you on the list because it helps them to avoid any liability, should losses occur when they remove you by mistake or fail to put you on the list as stipulated. So don’t expect to encounter a sympathetic processor, should you somehow track the right one down.

To its credit (no pun intended), MasterCard has begun to create clearer guidelines about which infractions or missteps are list-worthy. Excessive chargebacks and/or fraud are two of the more common reasons, as well as lax security measures that lead to data compromises. In some instances, the matter may be out of your control, such as a stolen identity that is passed off for a merchant account. According to the MATCH List, however, that is your problem and warrants no special treatment for removal from the list. Though you can still operate your existing accounts, you will find it nearly impossible to open any new ones.

Down, But Not Out

The bottom line is that your business future can be bleak if saddled with a MATCH List Merchant Account. It is point, set, MATCH…unless you can ally yourself with a seasoned pro who knows how to operate within this bewildering netherworld. Professional consultants like TFM Law welcome the opportunity to take on these seemingly insurmountable tasks – and do it successfully. So while placement on the MATCH List can be daunting, it is a battle that, with the proper representation, can still be won.