So your credit card processing application was denied – groan. When you contacted the potential processor to find out why, they told you it’s because your business is on the MATCH list. What does this mean? How did you get on the list, and how can you get off? We’ll answer those questions and more in this post.



What Is the MATCH List and Why Am I on It?



The MATCH list (MATCH stands for Member Alert to Control High Risk Merchants) is a database of businesses that have been flagged or blacklisted by banks and credit card processors. The list prevents merchants from conducting shady dealings with one bank just to turn around and do the same thing with another. Merchants who appear on this list will find it very difficult to get approved for new credit card processing services. The MATCH list is the more comprehensive version of the now-obsolete Terminated Merchant File, or TMF. Mastercard created the MATCH list to better catalogue and track high-risk businesses.



There are a number of reasons why a merchant might find themselves on the MATCH list, and none of them are things you want to do as a reputable business owner. You can see the full list of reason codes here, but the most common is Excessive Chargebacks (Code 04). If you find that you’re getting hit with chargebacks frequently, it’s time to take stock of your processing habits to find out why. If the problem gets out of control, you could find yourself on the MATCH list. Other reasons you might end up on the list include fraud, violating the standards of one of the major credit card networks (American Express, Visa, etc.), or bankruptcy. As long as you conduct business ethically and address any issues with your credit card processor as soon as they come up, the MATCH list will never come into play for you.



How Can I Get Off the List?



Unfortunately, getting off the MATCH list is easier said than done. Merchants remain on the list for five years after being added, and it can be very difficult to open a new credit card processing account during that time. There are really only two ways for a merchant to be removed from the list prior to the five-year minimum. The first is if a mistake by the bank or processor resulted in the merchant being wrongfully placed on the list. If this is the case, the bank or processor must contact Mastercard to report the error and request that the merchant be removed. The other is if your business was placed on the list for Code 12, PCI-DSS Noncompliance. Not keeping up with your PCI requirements can raise red flags and send your account straight to the MATCH list. However, if you bring your account back into compliance you can contact your former credit card processor and request assistance with getting off the list.



Can I Still Accept Credit Cards?



Believe it or not, YES! Being on the MATCH list isn’t necessarily the kiss of death for credit card acceptance, it just makes it a whole lot harder to do so. You’ll need to shop around for a credit card processor who is willing to work with high-risk clients, and you may find your rates are quite high to offset this risk. Don’t expect any processor to give you an account no questions asked. Be prepared with an exemplary record since the incident, an explanation of what you’ve done to correct your business practices so it won’t happen again, and any other information you can think of that might help your case.



Prevention is The Way to Go



It’s far better to avoid getting placed on the MATCH list in the first place. The first step to protecting yourself is to work with a credit card processor who truly wants your business to succeed and who places education first. Your processor should be able to explain the best practices that will help you avoid the kinds of issues that cause you to end up on the MATCH list and should assist you when chargebacks or other issues arise. Our ultimate goal at 360 Payments is for our customers to thrive. Give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website, and we’ll show you how we do just that.



PS – Before you agree to work with a credit card processor, make sure they can answer these three questions.



PPS – Wondering how to make credit card processing a better experience for your customers? Here’s how.