If you are a business owner with a merchant account, it is vital that you understand what the MATCH List is. It can essentially become life or death for your business, and avoiding it is fairly simple. There are ways you can get placed on the MATCH List that aren’t by any fault of your own; however, there are safeguards you can put into place to prevent that from happening. So—what exactly is the MATCH List, and why was it created in the first place? Keep reading to learn more about why the MATCH List was created, three tips to avoid getting placed on it, and how to get off MATCH if you do get placed on it.
According to PaymentCloud, Mastercard created and manages the Member Alert to Control High-Risk Merchants list, more commonly known as the Mastercard MATCH list. It is a detailed electronic database of merchants Mastercard has determined to be high-risk. The MATCH list is accessible through Mastercard Connect, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
The article continues that the Terminated Merchant File (TMF) is a database of merchants that financial institutions have marked as high-risk. The Mastercard MATCH list is essentially just a newer, rebranded version of the Terminated Merchant File; thus, many use these terms interchangeably. Being on TMF makes it very difficult for a merchant to find another servicer willing to process their payments. The main reason why your business may end up on the TMF is repetitive or excessive chargebacks. Processors should check the TMF/MATCH list before accepting new merchants to whom they extend their services.
Also according to PaymentCloud, In order to avoid partnering with merchants considered high-risk, banks and registered third-party processors screen merchants through the MATCH list. This is a quick way to verify whether a merchant has a history of poor business activities or has ever had their ability to process payments revoked. Financial institutions rely on this list to control the level of risk they expose themselves to when providing services to merchants. However, it is solely up to the financial institution whether or not it rejects an application based on the information found on the Mastercard MATCH list.
Mastercard and other financial institutions can either add or remove businesses from the proprietary MATCH list database. However, only the entity that puts a merchant on the list can remove that merchant from the list. Mastercard also has this power but rarely manages other banks’ merchants. Payment processors may contact the bank or servicer that put the merchant on the list and ask why. With this information, they will determine whether to accept or reject a merchant’s application. They may also decide to accept a merchant under certain restrictions.
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 help you get off the MATCH List once you’re on it.
The 13 reasons your business may have landed on the MATCH List include:
The MATCH List has some serious consequences that can be damaging to a business owner’s career, family, retirement, and livelihood. Luckily, there are ways you can avoid being placed on the MATCH List in the first place that will cover all the bases. They include making security a priority, ensuring professional customer service, and making sure your advertising is 100% correct. However, if you are placed on the MATCH List for any reason, there are ways you can get off MATCH.
There is nothing more important to credit card processors and banks than the security of their customers. Fraud, identity theft, and other similar crimes can cost them a lot of money and damage their reputation. This is why they have implemented such strict rules for business owners.
As long as you adhere to the PCI Data Security Noncompliance clause completely, then you cannot be placed on the MATCH List for security issues. According to Tokenex, the PCI DSS consists of 12 requirements, or demands, each made up of several more specific, related controls for a grand total of more than 300 security checks. For example, PCI Requirement 1 covers the construction and maintenance of a secure network infrastructure. Meeting this overall requirement entails confirming the presence of properly secured firewalls, routers, and other applications to prevent unauthorized access to the cardholder data environment.
Another you can get placed on the MATCH List includes excessive chargebacks. This is when a customer disputes a charge on their card for any reason, and an investigation is opened by the card processor to look into it. The more of these you have, the more likely you will be placed on the MATCH List.
One of the ways you can easily avoid excessive chargebacks is by ensuring professional customer service. This means making sure of the following:
A very easy way to land yourself on the MATCH List is by frauding your customers. This means selling a product or service that isn’t exactly 100% as advertised. You never know when you might make a sale to a customer who will file a report, so it is imperative that each and every sale is treated as such.
If there is anything in your advertising that is incorrect—even down to the most minute detail, such as business hours—a person can make a report for false advertising. This can impact your business and have you placed on 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:
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.