What To Do If You’re On The MATCH List

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What To Do If You’re On The MATCH List

Wondering what to do if you’re on The MATCH List? You’ve come to the right place. Finding out you’re on The MATCH List can be scary and full of unknowns. During this frightening time, we are here to tell you that you have options and there are ways to get off of The MATCH List, depending on how you got on it in the first place. Keep reading to learn more about The MATCH List, what it means to be placed on it, the top reasons you’re likely on it, and the three ways you can get off The MATCH List.

The MATCH List and Why You’re On It

The MATCH List was created by Mastercard to help fight fraud and protect banks that work with merchants. According to their website, The MATCH List, also known as 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.

The database gives banks the power to:

  • Add merchants who have been terminated for specific reasons to MATCH
  • Search for merchants by designating regions/countries and use multiple fields to determine possible matches
  • Add and search for information about up to five principal owners per merchant inquiry and addition
  • Inquire about a merchant to find out if they have been previously added to MATCH
  • Receive retroactive alerts if a merchant you previously inquired about is added to MATCH within 360 days of the initial inquiry

How The Match List Works

According to Mastercard, The Match List operates for banks before onboarding a merchant with three simple steps:

  1. Prior to executing the merchant agreement, the Acquirer submits an inquiry to the MATCH API that includes information on a merchant and the associated principal owner(s)
  2. MATCH searches the database for possible matches between the merchant information provided in the inquiry and information related to merchants added to MATCH during the past five years, as well as matches to inquiries performed by other acquirers during the past 360 days
  3. MATCH returns details of all merchants found listed in MATCH; the response indicates if each search result is based on an exact match or phonetic matches to each of the data elements provided by the acquirer

What It Means to Be On The MATCH List

If you have been added to The Match List, your credit card processor will have gone through the following steps through the Mastercard platform:

  1. Within 5 days of the decision to terminate a merchant that meets one of the MATCH reasons codes, the acquirer submits an additional record to the MATCH API that includes information on the merchant and associated principal owners, and the applicable reason code
  2. The record is added to MATCH and made available to all other acquirers in real time
  3. MATCH returns a confirmation to the acquirer that the merchant was successfully added and provides a MATCH Reference Number

As a consequence, Acquirers and Acquiring Third Party Processors will use MATCH during the merchant onboarding process to identify potential risks associated with the merchant, and Acquirers and Acquiring Third Party Processors will add terminated merchants to MATCH to alert other acquirers in the ecosystem of the potential risks associated with the merchant, according to Mastercard.

Top Reasons for Being On The MATCH List

As mentioned, the reason your credit card processor has placed you on The MATCH List is due to a violation of one of the reason codes. All of the reasons are listed here on Mastercard’s website, however, the most common reasons for being placed on The Match List include:

  • Reason Code 04: 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.
  • Reason Code 05: Excessive Fraud
    • The Merchant effected fraudulent Transactions of any type (counterfeit or otherwise) meeting or exceeding the following minimum reporting Standard: the Merchant’s fraudto-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.
  • Reason Code 10: 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.
  • Reason Code 12: PCI Data Security Standard Noncompliance
    • The Merchant failed to comply with Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard requirements.

1. You Can Wait Out the 5-Year Penalty

Once you have been placed on The MATCH List, you’re not stuck there forever. In fact, any trace you’ve ever been on it will be erased after the 5-year waiting period, which is one way to get off the MATCH List. However, this is very damaging to most businesses. The ability to accept credit cards is the lifeblood of most businesses and not being able to do so is unrealistic.

There are ways to stay in business during the five-year waiting period — such as becoming a cash-only business or possibly accepting payments through a personal account — however, the majority of people use their cards in this day and age and the likelihood you will go out of business is very high.

2. You Can Prove Your Compliance or Prove You’re On By Mistake

If reason codes 10 and 12 — Violation of Standards and PCI Data Security Standard Noncompliance, respectively — can be disproven, there is a chance you can be taken off The Match List. In addition, if you are able to disprove reason code 04 by proving your chargeback rate is less than 2%, there is a good chance you may be taken off The Match List.

In addition, reason code 05 (Excessive Fraud) places many businesses on The Match List by mistake, because the business can be a victim and is unaware of the fraud practices. If you are able to prove this, you may have a good chance of being removed from The Match List.

3. You Can Have Lawyers On Your Side

Working with credit card processors to remove your business from The Match List can be difficult for many businesses to handle themselves. It requires precise knowledge of the laws surrounding The Match List, as well as knowing the right thing to say and paperwork to support your claims. Having lawyers on your side to negotiate on your behalf and get your business back up and running is the ideal route to take.

Get Off The MATCH List with TFM Law

Finding out you’re on The Match List is scary, but you have options. 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 our firm 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 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.

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.

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