Mastering the Complexities of MATCH/TMF Lists: What High-Risk Merchants Need to Know

When seeking a high-risk payment processor, understanding industry standards like the Mastercard Alert to Control High-Risk Merchants (MATCH) list is crucial. MATCH is a database of terminated merchant accounts often closed due to high chargebacks or card brand rule violations. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore MATCH qualification criteria, reasons for listing, and what to do if your business is listed on MATCH.

MATCH Qualification Criteria

Upon terminating a relationship between a business and a credit card processor, the processor must evaluate if the business meets any MATCH criteria. If so, the processor adds the business’s information to MATCH within one business day.

Qualitative Criteria: Most MATCH criteria, or “reason codes,” relate to breaches of card network rules, such as illegal activity or collusion. There are 11 reason codes, including Account Data Compromise, Common Point of Purchase, Laundering, Fraud Conviction, Mastercard Questionable Merchant Audit Program, Bankruptcy/Liquidation/Insolvency, Violation of Standards, Merchant Collusion, PCIDSS Non-Compliance, Illegal Transactions, and Identity Theft.

Quantitative Criteria: Two MATCH reason codes have specific numeric thresholds set by Mastercard. These reason codes involve excessive chargebacks and fraud, which are the most common reasons for being added to MATCH and can affect businesses not engaged in illegal or rule-violating activities.

Details on Excessive Chargebacks and Fraud:

Excessive chargebacks and fraud reason codes differ from Visa and Mastercard’s chargeback and fraud monitoring programs. Dispute activity unrelated to Mastercard does not qualify towards MATCH counts. Once a business meets excessive chargebacks or fraud MATCH criteria in a calendar month, the merchant must be added to MATCH if the processing relationship is terminated, regardless of when the relationship ends.

Information Added to MATCH List:

Card networks require certain information, if available, to be added to MATCH, including business legal name, DBA, address, phone number, tax ID, URL, principal owner information, account opening and termination dates, and MATCH reason code. Mastercard does not verify the accuracy of MATCH listings.

MATCH Removal:

Processors generally cannot remove a business from MATCH upon request. A processor can only remove a MATCH entry if added in error or if the listing is for MATCH reason code 12 and the processor confirms the business is PCIDSS compliant. If either situation applies, contact the processor that listed you on MATCH. MATCH records are purged after five years.

Avoid letting high-risk merchant status hinder your business.

Next Steps If Listed on MATCH:

If you’re listed on MATCH, contact your previous processor to determine the reason for your inclusion. However, MATCH criteria are established by Mastercard, and processors must adhere to them.

High Risk Payments cannot remove a merchant meeting the “excessive chargebacks” criteria even if chargeback issues are resolved. Due to banking partner restrictions, High Risk Payments typically cannot process for businesses listed on MATCH unless extenuating circumstances apply.

Being listed on a Terminated Merchant File (TMF) can severely impact businesses, as many entities refuse to accept listed businesses or individuals. To avoid becoming eligible, be aware of TMF criteria and MATCH list criteria.

Businesses typically discover their MATCH listing when applying for a new processor. Although MATCH is meant as an informational tool, its presence often leads to application denial.

Processors, such as Stripe, generally cannot remove an account’s information from MATCH upon request. Removal is only possible if the processor added the business