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The MATCH List and the Impact on Merchants


As a business owner, navigating the intricacies of credit card processing is crucial for the success of your business. One aspect that demands careful attention is the management of chargebacks, as they not only affect your revenue but can also lead to serious consequences such as being added to the MATCH list.

The Chargeback Conundrum

Chargebacks occur when a customer disputes a transaction with their card issuer, citing reasons such as fraud, dissatisfaction with the product or service, or unauthorized transactions. While occasional chargebacks are inevitable in any business, high chargeback ratios can raise red flags for both merchants and payment processors. Typically a high chargeback rate is considered anything over 1%.

The MATCH List: What Is It?

The MATCH list, officially known as the Member Alert to Control High-Risk (MATCH) system, is a database maintained by Mastercard. It is designed to track merchants with excessive chargebacks and other high-risk activities. When a merchant is added to the MATCH list, it signals to other acquiring banks and processors that they pose a potential risk.

High Chargebacks and MATCH: The Cause and Effect

Merchants are typically added to the MATCH list when their chargeback ratios consistently exceed industry thresholds. This is a measure to protect consumers, card issuers, and the overall integrity of the payment system. Being on the MATCH list is a serious matter and can have significant repercussions for businesses.

Implications of Being Put on the MATCH List

Limited Access to Merchant Accounts

Once a merchant is on the MATCH list, obtaining a new merchant account becomes a daunting challenge. Acquiring banks and payment processors are cautious about entering into relationships with businesses that have a history of high chargebacks, as it reflects poorly on their risk management practices. Merchants are typically placed on the MATCH list for five years once their data is sent to Mastercard.

Higher Processing Fees

Even if a merchant manages to secure a new merchant account while on the MATCH list, they are likely to face much higher processing fees. Acquiring banks compensate for the increased risk by imposing elevated transaction fees and reserves, further impacting the merchant's bottom line.

Strained Relationships with Financial Institutions

Being on the MATCH list can strain the relationship between merchants and financial institutions. It erodes trust and may lead to difficulties in securing loans or other financial services, hindering the growth and stability of the business. If a merchant was wrongfully placed on the MATCH list, there is a dispute process that merchants can go through, however, it is rare that the decision is overturned.

Reputational Damage

Apart from the financial implications, being on the MATCH list can tarnish a merchant's reputation. Word spreads quickly within the industry, and consumers may lose confidence in a business that is flagged as high-risk. Rebuilding trust is a time-consuming process that often requires significant effort and resources.

Preventing MATCH List Inclusion

As a merchant services professional, preventing high chargebacks should be a top priority. Implementing robust fraud detection measures, providing excellent customer service, and clearly communicating terms and conditions can help reduce the likelihood of disputes. Regularly monitoring chargeback ratios and addressing issues promptly can also be instrumental in maintaining a clean record. Additionally, using fraud mitigation tools and chargeback representment services can decrease a merchant's risk of their chargeback rate increasing.


In the dynamic world of credit card processing, understanding the implications of chargebacks and the MATCH list is essential for merchants. High chargebacks not only impact a business's finances but can also lead to severe consequences, affecting its ability to operate smoothly. By proactively managing chargebacks and implementing preventive measures, merchants can safeguard their reputation and maintain a healthy relationship with payment processors.

As a small business owner, staying informed and proactive in chargeback management is key to ensuring the long-term success of your business and ensuring that you can accept card payments for the lifetime of your business.

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