For any type of business that wants to accept credit cards and debit cards as forms of payment, they have to create a new merchant account with either a financial institution like a bank or with an independent sales organization (ISO). A merchant account is simply a bank account that allows businesses to accept riskier payment methods, such as credit cards. The vast majority of businesses these days will need merchant accounts to provide convenience for customers, and it’s practically the only way e-commerce businesses can accept payments.
When a customer pays using a Mastercard or similar method, the fund will first go to the merchant account for the business. There, the transaction will be processed by the acquiring bank’s automatic clearing house (ACH) before it’s transferred to the regular business bank account. Merchant accounts typically include a reserve fund, which is a pool of money set aside in case there are any problems with customer payments or credit card processors.
If you decide to work with an ISO instead of directly with an acquiring bank, you’ll need to research that the ISO does, in fact, have partnerships with acquirers who support VISA, MasterCard, or any other cards you want your business to support. The last thing you need is any issues that could land you on the MATCH list.
What is the MATCH list?
The Member Alert to Control High Risk Merchants list is a record provided to acquiring banks that details merchants defined as high-risk by Mastercard. Business owners and other merchants can be deemed “high-risk” for a variety of reasons including high rates of chargebacks, merchant collusion, fraud convictions, identity theft issues, account data leaks, and many more. Each offense will be included as a reason code on the MATCH list.
Merchants on the list are identified via terminated merchant files (TMF). A merchant file is simply a record of a merchant and whether they’re considered in good standing. The TMF list is used by credit card processors to determine whether they should provide a merchant with a merchant account.
Generally speaking, no processor will provide an account to a merchant on the TMF. It’s important to note that getting placed on the MATCH list with a TMF won’t result in termination of an account in good standing—rather, it generally prevents you from opening any new account while you’re on the list. Here are a couple of actions you can take to get off the list.
Work with your acquiring bank.
The first step you’ll need to take towards getting off the MATCH list is to contact your payment processor to find out what you were placed on the list. Mastercard keeps TMF records for five years after the offense, which is obviously too long for a merchant to wait. The most common reason for getting placed on the list is excessive chargebacks.
A chargeback occurs when a customer disputes a charge on their account statement. Customers may be granted a chargeback if they were charged for items they never received if a charge was duplicated in error by the merchant, if credit card information was compromised, or any technical issue that resulted in the charge.
Your former processor may be able to help you resolve this issue if you can provide evidence that the chargebacks were granted in error or if they were made due to fraudulent or illegal activity at no fault of your own. Otherwise, you’ll have to prove that credit card processes are now running smoothly at your business, and chargebacks are no longer occurring.
Take legal action.
If you were badly injured in a car accident in Pennsylvania, you wouldn’t hesitate to call a car accident attorney in Topton, PA, would you? Your answer is likely “no,” and you shouldn’t hesitate to call an attorney if you believe you were put on the MATCH list in error. Being on the TMF list is a serious blow to your business, and it’s not one you should take lightly.
Getting off the MATCH list can be extremely difficult, and that’s where the electronic payments litigation experts at Global Legal can help. This team of experts can guide you through working with payment processors and banks to give you the highest possible chance of being removed from the list. Because of their stellar reputation in the industry, their demand letters for merchant removal from the list are given serious weight and are much more likely to have positive results than if you try to go it alone.
Contact Global Legal with any TMF MATCH concerns to receive a consultation on your situation. You’ll just need documentation regarding the event that triggered your placement on the list, your agreements with your payment processor, and any other paperwork that may be relevant.