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Mastercard revises the Questionable Merchant Audit Program

For: Merchants who accept magnetic stripe-only cards 
Date effective: October 13, 2018

Mastercard is revising the Questionable Merchant Audit Program (QMAP) Standards to remove the eligibility for issuers to receive partial fraud recovery for transactions conducted on a Mastercard or Maestro card that has magnetic stripe-only functionality.

This revision is intended to encourage issuers to migrate their portfolios from magnetic stripe-only cards to EMV chip cards to help prevent fraud by leveraging a higher level of payments technology. Issuers of magnetic stripe-only cards do not have chargeback rights as a result of maintaining less secure technology cards, and they will no longer be able to leverage the QMAP to attempt to partially recover fraud losses from transactions conducted on these cards. This revision will also enhance the alignment of the QMAP Standards with:

  • EMV chip liability shift Standards, which prohibit issuers from seeking recovery via chargebacks for transactions on magnetic stripe-only cards conducted at an EMV chip enabled terminal
  • The Mastercard Account Data Compromise (ADC) Program Standards, which no longer provide operational reimbursement (OR) for Mastercard magnetic stripe-only card accounts to issuers impacted by a data breach


The QMAP, which was launched in 2013, establishes minimum criteria for acceptable merchant behavior to identify Questionable Merchants who may fail to meet the minimum criteria by participating in collusive, inappropriate, or fraudulent activity.

 QMAP permits issuers to obtain partial recovery of up to one half of actual fraud losses resulting from fraudulent transactions at a Questionable Merchant, based on fraud transactions reports to the System to Avoid Fraud Effectively (SAFE) by the issuer.

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