I’m going to guess if  you are reading this it is due to the fact that you have actually just became aware that you’ve been assigned to the Terminated Merchant File (TMF) or Member Alert To Control High-Risk (MATCH) list. And also now you’re clambering to investigate what this “list”  really is,and just how to get your business off of it. Am I close?

Well you’re not the only merchant that’s been caught unsuspecting. The reality is that a lot of businesses don’t know that they are TMF’d or MATCH ‘d until they send an application for a new account and it is declined. Whereupon, the reason for the decline is disclosed to them.

I really hope that in this case, I’m catching you prior to you have actually been put  one of  the list, but if not, I’ll do my finest to help you out anyway. As you may have already observed that this notorious “checklist” goes by a pair names: Terminated Merchant File (TMF), and MATCH (Member Alert to Control High-Risk). Up until now “Terminated Merchant File (TMF)” was the default term used by the industry but more recently it has been replaced by “MATCH.” but they both pretty much mean the very same thing.

What is MATCH?

MATCH is a system produced as well as handled by MasterCard. It is essentially a database that houses details regarding businesses (as well as their proprietors) whose charge card processing benefits have actually been terminated for reasons which I’ll talk about later on. It is used by obtaining financial institutions (aka sponsor banks and merchant service processors) to evaluate prospective candidates to see if that candidate has been terminated in the past. Acquiring banks also have the capability to include or remove sellers to or from the MATCH data source, given they have validation.In short, MATCH  resembles a “blacklist” that financial institutions can cross-check when they board a new merchant. That way, they won’t obtain or get stuck with bad actors.

The biggest disadvantage to the MATCH system is that MasterCard does not validate or validate the precision of the info reported to or detailed in the MATCH data source by the obtaining financial institution. Per this caution in section 11.1 of MasterCard’s Protection Rules and Procedures.MasterCard does not validate, or request for confirmation of either the basis for or precision of any type of details that is reported to or noted in MATCH. It is possible that info has actually been wrongfully reported or inaccurately reported. It is likewise feasible that facts and situations triggering a MATCH record might go through analysis and dispute. As you can see, that provides the acquirer full discernment in deciding whom to include in the listing. It’s a system with no checks and also balances, which is can be dangerous.

What Occurs When You’re MATCH ‘d? When a merchant is placed on the MATCH list, the business name, principal, and any partners are all recorded on file and basically Blacklisted. Once on the MATCH list, it is very challenging to to approved for a   Merchant Account by any merchant provider.

Because credit card processing is a business with a high risk of loss to the banks, MATCH is used by the banks to see if the risk of boarding a new merchant is less than a bank’s risk tolerance.If a bank finds that the applicant is in the MATCH file, they can contact the previous bank who placed the business on the list and ask why that particular account was shut down. With that information they can decide to either accept or reject the application.

Why Do Merchants Get MATCH’d?
The reasons can vary, chargebacks, fraudulent activity, or money laundering are all things that will get you on the list. Below is a list of codes directly from the MasterCard website:

Code Description
01 Account Data Compromise
The Merchant unknowingly or unintentionally facilitated, by any means, the unauthorized disclosure or use of account information.
02 Common Point of Purchase (CPP)
The Merchant knowingly caused or facilitated, by any means, the unauthorized disclosure or use of account information.
03 Laundering
The Merchant was engaged in laundering activity. Laundering means that a Merchant presented to its Acquirer Transaction records that were not valid Transactions for sales of goods or services between that Merchant and a bona fide Cardholder.
04 Excessive Chargebacks
With respect to a Merchant reported by a MasterCard Acquirer, the Merchant’s chargebacks in any single month exceeded 1% of its MasterCard sales Transactions in that month, and those chargebacks totaled USD 5,000 or more. With respect to a merchant reported by an American Express acquirer (ICA numbers 102 through 125), the merchant exceeded the chargeback thresholds of American Express, as determined by American Express.
05 Excessive Fraud
The Merchant effected fraudulent Transactions of any type (counterfeit or otherwise) meeting or exceeding the following minimum reporting Standard: the Merchant’s fraud-to-sales dollar volume ratio was 8% or greater in a calendar month, and the Merchant effected 10 or more fraudulent Transactions totaling USD 5,000 or more in that calendar month.
07 Fraud Conviction
There was a criminal fraud conviction of a principal owner or partner of the Merchant.
09 Bankruptcy/Liquidation/Insolvency
The Merchant was unable or is likely to become unable to discharge its financial obligations.
10 Violation of Standards
With respect to a Merchant reported by a MasterCard Acquirer, the Merchant was in violation of one or more Standards that describe procedures to be employed by the Merchant in Transactions in which Cards are used, including, by way of example and not limitation, the Standards for honoring all Cards, displaying the Marks, charges to Cardholders, minimum/maximum Transaction amount restrictions, and prohibited Transactions set forth in Chapter 5 of the MasterCard Rules manual. With respect to a merchant reported by an American Express acquirer (ICA numbers 102 through 125), the merchant was in violation of one or more American Express bylaws, rules, operating regulations, and policies that set forth procedures to be employed by the merchant in transactions in which American Express cards are used.
11 Merchant Collusion
The Merchant participated in fraudulent collusive activity.
12 PCI Data Security Standard Noncompliance
The Merchant failed to comply with Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard requirements.
13 Illegal Transactions
The Merchant was engaged in illegal Transactions.
14 Identity Theft
The Acquirer has determined that the identity of the listed Merchant or its principal owner(s) was unlawfully assumed for the purpose of unlawfully entering into a Merchant Agreement.

For how long Are You On the List?
According to this MasterCard you’ll stay in the system for 5-years.

How Do You Get Off the List?
You’ve ended up terminated and on the list. So now what? The only way to get off MATCH is through the bank that put you there. So when you are made aware of it, the first step is to contact your previous provider. There is no doubt that you will be given the run a round, there will be many phone transfers, until you get to the right person, or get forwarded to the processing bank themselves. If you are fortunate enough to get connected to the right person, you can then find out the reason code for why you are on the file, and ask what you need to do to get off. Depending on the reason for being terminated, getting reinstated can be simple or impossible. It is virtually impossible to get reinstated  due to fraudulent activity.
Commonly a termination is a result of numerous chargebacks. CB’s can be fixed with time. Banks will wait till all chargebacks have been corrected prior to considering reinstatement. If you believe you were unfairly terminated, you must work with the bank that added you to get your business name removed or the details changed. After investigation, if the acquirer believes that you were listed in error, they must request that is is corrected. If you’ve exhausted all the calls and spoken to all of representatives available, the last form of action is to hire a lawyer and try to arbitrate.

Can You Still Get Approved for Merchant Account?
There are some payment processors that may be willing to work around the situation and there are payment alternatives depending on your business model. You can contact Fintechmerchantaccounts.com to learn more and discuss your options..we have approved merchants that have been on the MATCH and TMF list.