The MATCH List: What Is It & How to Be Removed As a Merchant in 2024?

The MATCH List

Read about the MATCH (Member Alert to Control High-Risk Merchants) list – created by Mastercard – and how it works.

Discover what it means to be “getting MATCHed”, and how to get yourself removed from the list (if it is possible!). Read on to find out.


What is a MATCH list? 

MATCH is a watch list for acquirers and mid-providers with Mastercard also named MasterCard Alert to Control High-Risk Merchants. It’s used to track the history of all companies so they can minimize risk on their end.

As well as MATCH having codes for termination (which you can read later on), there are also MCC codes which are used to identify potentially fraudulent transactions. 

MATCH is a mandatory usage for acquirers in order to step into an agreement with any merchant. 

MATCH gives acquirers the overview of former closure reasons, and will help assess risks and see if there is a basis for an agreement. If an acquirer takes a merchant in, it then helps them figure out future terms.

Mastercard has made a API functional where acquirers can get all MATCH data live and in real-time.

This makes it easy for acquirers to find data about merchants, and harder for bad merchants to get high risk merchant accounts.


MATCH Reason Codes

MATCH has ‘reason codes’ for all terminations, which means even you are mentioned if you’ve ever been terminated.
Each reason code corresponds to a specific type of violation or issue that led to the termination of the merchant’s account.

While the specific reason codes may vary slightly among card networks, the following are commonly used reason codes associated with the MATCH list:

Reason code 01 – Account Data Compromise: Indicates a security breach or compromise of cardholder data.

Reason code 02 – Common Point of Purchase (CPP): Implies a high number of chargebacks originating from a specific location or common point of purchase.

Reason code 03 – Excessive Chargebacks: Highlights a pattern of excessive chargebacks, which can be a result of dissatisfied customers, fraud, or other issues.

Reason code 04 – Fraud Conviction: Indicates that the merchant has been convicted of fraud-related activities.

Reason code 05 – MasterCard Questionable Merchant Audit Program (QMAP): Relates to a review by MasterCard’s QMAP program, which assesses a merchant’s risk.

Reason code 07 – Fraudulent Transactions: Implies involvement in fraudulent transactions.

Reason code 08 – MasterCard Violation of Standards: Indicates a violation of MasterCard’s standards or rules.

Reason code 09 – Bankruptcy/Liquidation/Insolvency: Points to the merchant’s financial instability, such as bankruptcy or insolvency.

Reason code 10 – Violation of Standards (Other): Indicates a violation of card network standards other than MasterCard.

Reason code 11 – Merchant Collusion: Suggests collusion with customers or other merchants for fraudulent activities.

Reason code 12 – PCI Data Security Standard Non-Compliance: Indicates non-compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

Reason code 13 – Illegal Transactions: Implies involvement in illegal or prohibited transactions.

It’s essential to note that the reason codes may be updated or modified by card networks, and additional codes may exist.

Merchants should work closely with their payment processors or acquiring banks to understand the specific reason for their MATCH list entry and take appropriate steps to address the underlying issues.


building and a guy as a "merchant" and a credit card and some money


How do Match lists work?

MATCH is a forced function from Mastercard and all acquirers has to use it when being approached by a merchant. 

  • Add and search for information regarding up to five principal and associate business owners for each merchant.

  • Designate regions and countries for database searches. Determine whether they want to receive inquiry matches and the type of information the system returns.

  • Add the name of the service provider associated with signing the merchant. Submit and receive bulk data using batch and/or import file operations.

  • Add and search for information regarding Merchant Universal Resource Locator (URL) website addresses.


How do you know if you are on the MATCH or TMF list?

As a merchant you can get on the list if your processing bank files a complaint because for some reason your activities end up.

In many cases businesses don’t know why  they are placed on the list. If a processing bank hands in a compliant business get on the MATCH or TMF (Terminated Merchant File) list

Terminated Merchant Files (TMFs) have information about merchant accounts that have been closed by credit card processors for high chargebacks or violations of card brand rules.


How long do you stay on the MATCH list?

Mastercard has a 5 year data retention policy, so once you’re added to the list your data will be stored for a long period.

If you think your name was wrongly added to Mastercard’s MATCH list you can request a removal. Your credit card processing company needs to submit a request to have your business removed. 


How to get removed from the MATCH list?

Mastercard has two reasons to remove a merchant.

  • If the acquirer has submitted the merchant by error to the MATCH list
  • If the merchant was a code 12 and is now PCI compliant then the acquirer has to submit a removal request

Chargebacks prevention is needed for all high risk merchants as one of the biggest reasons for submission is excessive chargebacks.

Anything above 1% or 75 chargebacks per mid will mean submission for MATCH.


red file envelope in a drawer full of envelops


What are the next steps if you are listed on MATCH? 

Here are some steps you can consider taking if you find yourself on the MATCH list.

Understand the reason

Try to understand the reason for being listed on MATCH.

This information is typically provided by the acquiring bank or payment processor that added you to the list. It could be due to chargebacks, fraud, or other high-risk activities.


Contact your processor

Reach out to your payment processor or acquiring bank to discuss the reasons for being added to MATCH.

They may provide insights into the specific issues and conditions for removal.


Address the issues

If the listing is due to specific issues like excessive chargebacks or fraud, take immediate steps to address these issues.

Implement measures to reduce chargebacks, enhance security, and improve overall compliance with payment card industry (PCI) standards.


Negotiate with the processor

Engage in discussions with your payment processor to negotiate a resolution.

This may involve demonstrating improvements in your business practices, implementing additional security measures, or addressing any outstanding issues.


Find a new processor

In some cases, it may be necessary to find a new payment processor that is willing to work with high-risk merchants.

Be prepared to provide a detailed explanation of the steps you have taken to mitigate risks and prevent future issues.


Compliance and documentation

Ensure that your business is fully compliant with PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) requirements.

Document your compliance efforts and share this information with your payment processor to demonstrate your commitment to security.


Appeal to the card networks

If negotiations with your payment processor do not yield results, you can consider appealing directly to the card networks (Visa, Mastercard, etc.) that placed you on the MATCH list.

This process may vary depending on the network, so contact them for guidance.


Legal advice

If all else fails, consider seeking legal advice. An attorney experienced in payment processing and merchant services may be able to provide guidance on the best course of action.


How Payfasto can help? 

It’s important to note that being on the MATCH list can have long-lasting effects on your ability to secure payment processing services, so it’s crucial to address the underlying issues and work towards a resolution with a partner on your side.

Choose PayFasto and protect your merchant account with us. Learn more about our services and get started today!

There are years of industry experience behind our high-risk merchant guides and tips...