The problem with blacklists is that you usually don’t know if you’re on them.
Are you on the Mastercard MATCH list, a blacklist of merchants considered high-risk?
Only acquiring banks and certain other authorised parties have access to the MATCH list.
You may not know that you're on it until you apply for a new processing agreement and are denied. But by then, it’s too late.
Being listed on the MATCH does not automatically prohibit a merchant from obtaining a new merchant account with another acquirer.
But it’s a strong warning sign.
Let’s look at the MATCH list in-depth and see what you can do about getting off it once you’re on.
What is the Mastercard MATCH list?
If you’re on this list, an acquiring bank has previously terminated your merchant account for cause. We’ll discuss the causes in a moment.
The acronym MATCH stands for Member Alert to Control High-risk Merchants. The active word here is control.
The MATCH list aims to reduce the risk posed by merchants with a history of fraud, excessive chargebacks, or violation of Mastercard’s network rules and regulations. Such high-risk merchants go on the list. All the other card processors must check this list before approving a new merchant account.
If you’re on the MATCH list, you’ve got problems for years to come.
How the MATCH list works
Reasons for adding a merchant to the MATCH list include:
- Excessive chargebacks or returns
- Violation of standards set by a card network
Any behaviour seen as a risk to the payment system can land you on the list. The specifics are outlined in the Mastercard Rules.
Reporting by Acquirers
When a merchant account is terminated for cause, the acquiring bank is required by Mastercard to report this merchant to the MATCH list. Detailed information about the merchant, including the reason for termination, is entered into the MATCH database.
Why Were You Put On the MATCH List?
Mastercard outlines specific reason codes for being put on the list.
01: Account Data Compromise
An occurrence that directly or indirectly results in unauthorised access to or disclosure of account data.
02: Common Point of Purchase (CPP)
Account data is stolen at the merchant and used for fraudulent purchases at other merchant locations.
The merchant was engaged in laundering activity. Laundering means that a merchant presented to its acquirer transaction records that were not valid transactions for the sales of goods or services between that merchant and a bona fide cardholder.
04: Excessive Chargebacks
For 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 totalled USD 5,000 or more.
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 fraud-to-sales dollar volume ratio was 8% or greater in a calendar month, and the Merchant effected ten or more fraudulent Transactions totalling USD 5,000 or more in that calendar month.
06: Reserved for Future Use
08: Mastercard Questionable Merchant Audit Program
The merchant was determined to be a Questionable Merchant per the criteria outlined in the Mastercard Questionable Merchant Audit Program.
The merchant was unable or is likely to become unable to discharge its financial obligations.
10: Violation of Standards
A merchant reported by a Mastercard acquirer was found to be in breach of one or more Mastercard standards. These standards outline specific procedures merchants must follow when processing card transactions. Examples of these violations include not adhering to minimum/maximum transaction amount limits and engaging in prohibited transactions, as detailed in Chapter 5 of the Mastercard Rules manual.
11: Merchant Collusion
The Merchant participated in fraudulent collusive activity.
12: PCI Data Security Standard Noncompliance
The merchant failed to comply with Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard requirements.
13: Illegal Transactions
The merchant was engaged in illegal transactions.
14: Identity Theft
The acquirer has reason to believe that the identity of the listed merchant or its principal owner(s) was unlawfully assumed for the purpose of illegally entering into a merchant agreement.
How to Get Off the MATCH list
The only sure way to get off the list is to wait five years from the date of your last offence.
In the meantime, you are facing:
- Difficulty securing merchant services
- Increased processing fees
- Requirement for reserve funds
- Limited banking options
- Reputational damage
- Legal and compliance costs
- Operational disruptions
- Higher scrutiny in future applications
There are few ways to get off the list in less than five years.
If an error landed you on the list, you should first contact the acquirer who reported you. Then, provide evidence or documentation that proves the listing was a mistake. If the acquirer agrees that an error was made, they can request Mastercard to remove you from the MATCH list.
In some cases, merchants resort to legal action against the acquirer if their inclusion on the list was wrongful and they cannot resolve the issue directly with the acquirer. Success in these cases often depends on proving that the acquirer breached the contract or acted in error or bad faith.
Despite their MATCH listing, some merchants negotiate with acquirers to obtain a new merchant account. Success in these negotiations often depends on the reason code in the MATCH listing and the merchant's ability to demonstrate improved practices or mitigating circumstances.
You may be successful in these challenges.
The most common way to be removed from the MATCH list is to wait for the entry to expire after five years. After this period, your information is automatically deleted from the list.
How Do I Avoid The Mastercard MATCH List?
None of the get-off-the-list methods given above work as well as not incurring chargebacks or fraud in the first place.
The best way to avoid the MATCH list is to optimise your transaction processing workflow to eliminate the fraud and excessive chargebacks that lead to inclusion.
Our service, ChargebackStop.com, offers a complete platform to reduce chargebacks by up to 99%. We give you the power to control the situation before a cardholder gets away with a fraudulent chargeback.
FAQ: Mastercard MATCH List
How does a merchant get added to the MATCH list?
Merchants are added to the MATCH list by acquiring banks if their merchant account has been terminated for fraud, excessive chargebacks, violation of card network rules, or other qualifying reasons outlined by Mastercard.
Can a merchant be removed from the MATCH list?
Generally, merchants are automatically removed from the list after five years. Early removal is possible but rare, typically only in cases of proven error in listing.
Is it possible to conduct business if a merchant is on the MATCH list?
While challenging, a merchant on the MATCH list might find an acquiring bank willing to open a merchant account, often under stricter terms and higher fees.
How can a merchant dispute their inclusion on the MATCH list?
Merchants must work through the acquiring bank that listed them to dispute their inclusion. This involves providing evidence that the listing was in error or unwarranted.
Does being on the MATCH list affect personal credit scores?
Being on the MATCH list does not directly affect a merchant's personal credit score. However, the underlying reasons for being added, such as bankruptcy or fraud, may impact personal credit.