What is the MATCH List?

MATCH, the Member Alert to Control High-Risk Merchants system, a.k.a. the Terminated Merchant File (TMF), is a MasterCard proprietary tool that enables acquirers and third-party payment processors to “red flag” a merchant in cases of bankruptcy, excessive chargebacks, excessive fraud, violation of data security protocols, identity theft, and more. For merchants who abide by all of the standards, and operate in good faith, being added to the MATCH list can be a shock. Suddenly your merchant account is cancelled and you find yourself unable to secure a new payment processor.

Finding yourself added to the MATCH list can feel like a scarlet letter for your business, especially if you are the principal owner or a partner. This problem can have lasting effects; once your business is on the MATCH list, you may remain in high-risk status, unable to find a processing partner, for up to five years. The MasterCard Security Rules and Procedures show that even when you are able to find a processor to take you on as a merchant, there may be conditions attached that make the arrangement less than ideal for you.

Why Was I Added to the MATCH List?

Chargebacks, fraud transactions, and other reversals are the biggest threat to payment processors and acquiring banks, who face steep fees when charges are reversed. The MATCH list is how these processors and acquirers protect themselves from taking on high-risk merchant accounts. To stay off of the MATCH list, it is crucial to keep your chargeback rate below 1 percent. There are two criteria for being added to the match list for “excessive chargebacks” or “excessive fraud”. Consider these MATCH-makers:

  • A chargeback rate of over 1 percent and $5000 in chargebacks in any month
  • A fraud-to-dollars ratio of 8 percent and $5000 of fraud (counterfeit or otherwise) in any month

Preventing chargebacks and identifying fraud transactions play a critical role in keeping your business off the MATCH list. Of all the reasons to find yourself slapped with the “high-risk merchant” label, these two are within your control when you have the right solution in place.

Getting Off the MATCH List

If you’ve found yourself on the MATCH list and you’re ready to make it your mission to get off, there is a process to follow. If you plan to dispute your addition to the Terminated Merchant File, the first step is to contact the acquiring bank or processing company that placed you on the list. Depending on the reason for being added, you may be able to get off. Unfortunately, because fraud poses such a risk to banks, merchants with high fraud rates may find it more difficult to get off the list. In the case, the best offense is a good defense. Your best bet: stay far away from the MATCH list.