What Is the MATCH List and How Do You Get Off It?

If you use a merchant account, you have an acquiring bank that provides the account used for processing card payments. These banks talk to each other and share a list of high-risk merchants to help them avoid taking on overly risky accounts. This list is called the Member Alert to Control High Risk list. If you find yourself on this list, you may be wondering how to get off it.

What Is the List?

The MATCH list is maintained by MasterCard to keep track of businesses and owners who have had their credit card processing account terminated by an acquiring bank. It is very similar to the Terminated Merchant File, an older system that is falling out of favor and being replaced by MATCH.

When a bank is considering whether to accept you for a merchant account, its team will check MATCH to see if your business entity, you or anyone else associated with your business in on it. If you, your business or a partner are in the system, there is a good chance you will be denied. You can think of the system as being something of a blacklist used by banks to mitigate risk.

Being on the list is not a guarantee that you won’t be approved. The acquiring bank can contact the bank that terminated you to learn the reasoning behind the decision. Depending on the details of the case and the new bank’s risk tolerance, you may still be accepted. The bank may also give a conditional acceptance that restricts your account in some ways.

How Do You Get Put in MATCH?

You may end up in the MATCH database for a variety of reasons. Basically, if your bank determines that you are too high risk and closes your account, you will likely be placed in the database. While this decision used to be largely up to the discretion of the bank, MasterCard has recently created clearer guidelines.

The reasons may include consistent problems with your transactions such as excessive chargebacks or fraud. Other reasons are related to poor security measures that result in data compromises. Many of the reason codes for MATCH are focused on the account holder breaking the law by engaging in fraud, money laundering, collusion or illegal transactions.

Unfortunately, some of the reasons may be completely out of your control. The most notable of these is if your identity was stolen and used for a merchant account. When discovered, this will result in an entry into MATCH. However, it will also keep you from opening a legitimate account.

Getting Off the List

According to MasterCard, entries are kept in the system for five years. This is obviously too long to wait for many merchants. Therefore, you may be wondering how you can get removed.

Unfortunately, getting removed from MATCH is notoriously difficult. The only way to get taken off is to work with the bank that entered you into the system. Depending on why you were entered into the system in the first place, you may be able to take steps to resolve the situation. Some causes are impossible to circumvent, however. If you were convicted of fraud, you are probably stuck on the list.

Excessive chargebacks may be the most common reason to be entered onto the list. Fortunately, this can usually be resolved with time. Once the chargebacks have been rectified and no additional chargebacks have occurred for a while, the bank may be willing to remove you. Unfortunately, there isn’t a set process for removal. So, you are somewhat at the mercy of your former acquiring bank.

If you were erroneously added or put on the list due to someone stealing your identity, you will need to get the bank’s contact details. The bank will need to launch an investigation and will request a correction once that is concluded.

What Else Can You Do?

Fortunately, you don’t have to get off the MATCH list to be able to open a merchant account. Despite the fact that many banks will turn you down automatically if you are on the list, others are willing to consider you. Again, the likelihood of success depends greatly on the reason that you were added to the list in the first place.

Instabill may be able to help you find a tolerant acquiring bank through our high-risk merchant accounts. These are targeted at businesses that are in risky industries or that are prone to chargebacks or fraud. There are no guarantees that you will be accepted for a merchant account. However, this option is available even if you are on MATCH.

While getting your details removed from the database would be the ideal outcome, some banks simply won’t play ball. If that is the case, don’t give up. Choose a high-risk merchant account and see if an acquiring bank will be willing to work with you.

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