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The Dangers of the Shotgun Approach: Why Multiple MATCH Inquiries Can Hurt

Applying for a merchant account for your business can be a stressful experience. The process seems shrouded in secrecy—you do your best to prepare and put your best foot forward, only to be denied. The reasons for your application being rejected often feel unfair and mysterious. You are a responsible and entrepreneurial business owner. Why wouldn’t a merchant bank want to work with you?

Why is applying for too many merchant accounts harmful?

The struggle of getting and maintaining a merchant account is a problem with which we at E-Commerce 4 IM are intimately familiar. We understand that without the ability to accept credit card payments, your profitability is limited. In today’s cashless society, being able to process credit card payments isn’t just a nice to have an option for your customers—it is a necessity to fully realizing the profit potential of your business. The difficulty of getting a merchant account is especially acute if you own what the banks term a “high risk” business. Multilevel marketing, coaching, skin care products, and supplements are all types of businesses that fall into this category.

A business owner who is looking to establish that first merchant account may be tempted to apply to as many banks as possible to get that one precious acceptance. Our years of experience at E-Commerce 4 IM suggest that making multiple applications is a mistake—one that can hurt your chances of gaining a merchant account in the long run.

How do processors know where I apply?

Each time that you apply for an account with a credit card processor, the bank will check to see if your business is on what is known as the MATCH file (also known as the TMF). MATCH, which is a loose acronym for Member Alert to Control High Risk, was created by MasterCard primarily as a method to compile information on businesses whose credit card processing privileges have been terminated. The reasons for a termination of credit card processing privileges vary; bankruptcy, insolvency, multiple chargebacks, data security issues, and criminal conduct can all cause a business to end up on this “blacklist.”

Why does it matter?

What many new business owners don’t realize is that when credit card processors check the MATCH list, they can also see how many times an inquiry has been made searching for that enterprise in the system. Just like your personal credit, where multiple inquiries can hurt your FICO score, having many credit card processors check for your presence in the MATCH file can make you look like a more significant risk than you actually are. The fact is this: every time you apply for a merchant account, the fact that you made that application is visible to any other bank that evaluates your worthiness for a credit card processing account. If your record shows many inquiries, your chances of gaining a merchant account are that much smaller.

How do I know where to apply for credit card processing?

That is where E-Commerce 4 IM can help. Our team leverages our many years of combined experience to help you avoid the pitfalls of the shotgun approach. We have access to 35 different merchant banks and the ability to conduct a pre-application process with those institutions. Our pre-application process doesn’t include the information that a bank would need to look for your business in the MATCH file. This method preserves your reputation and helps ensure that you get the merchant account that is critical to your enterprise’s success.

Whether you are an experienced business owner looking to establish a merchant account with better terms or a high-risk business operator looking to realize your full profit potential, E-Commerce 4 IM has the experience to get you the credit card processing account you need to be successful. Contact us today!

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