Everything You Need to Know About the MATCH/TMF List

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Everything You Need to Know About the MATCH/TMF List

If you’re considered a high-risk merchant, you know exactly how tough it can be to access merchant services.

Either companies won’t work with you or want to charge you an arm and a leg for even the most basic payment processing.

If you’re on the MATCH list, though, things get even more complicated. 

Fortunately, it IS possible to obtain a merchant account, even if you’re on the MATCH list - you just have to choose the right company to work with. 

In this blog, we’ll discuss the MATCH list: how merchants wind up on it, how to get off, and what to do about merchant services in the meantime.

Let’s dive in. 

What is the MATCH/TMF List?

MATCH stands for “Merchant Alert To Control High-Risk.” The MATCH list (previously called the Terminated Merchant File, or TMF) is a master blacklist that Mastercard compiles and maintains. 

The list is an extensive database of merchants with accounts that have been terminated or deemed very high-risk for payment processors within the last five years. 

Today, the MATCH list serves as the central resource for acquiring partners who want to look up information on another acquiring partner or determine whether they’ve had their merchant account terminated in the past and why the termination occurred.

How do Merchants Wind up on the MATCH List?

To provide as much information as possible for acquiring partners, the MATCH list assigns a code to every merchant on the list, which describes the merchant’s reason for being on the list.

The MATCH list codes include excessive chargebacks, fraud, violation of standards, PCI-DSS non-compliance, illegal transactions, and identity theft, among others. 

While there are many different ways to end up on the MATCH list, the most common is excessive chargebacks. 

Merchants can also be placed on the list for reasons they don’t have complete control over. For example, merchants that experience account breaches or identity theft can wind up on the MATCH list, even if they weren’t negligent. 

What are the Consequences of Being on the MATCH List?

There are many drawbacks to being on the MATCH list. 

Here are a few to be aware of:

  • When a bank or financial institution terminates a merchant’s account, it generates a digital warning sign that other institutions can see. This makes it more difficult for that merchant to get an account with other financial institutions. 
  • If you’ve been denied a merchant account, you’ll likely be deemed a “high-risk” merchant, which means many institutions either won’t work with you or will charge you sky-high fees to access merchant services. 
  • While losing access to merchant account functions is frustrating, most high-risk merchants find it more frustrating to be unable to process credit card payments.
  • Sometimes, merchants on the MATCH list are blacklisted directly by a credit card processor, creating a payment processing nightmare that’s difficult to find your way out of. 

How Do You Get Off The MATCH List?

Once you’re on the MATCH list, it is possible to be delisted, with some caveats. 

If you wound up on the list due to reason code 12 ( PCI-DSS Non-compliance), becoming PCI-DSS compliant could get you off the list.

If you were added for another reason, the only way to get off the MATCH list is to wait for five years. After five years, you’ll fall off the MATCH list organically and be allowed to submit applications for merchant processing accounts as usual.  

If you believe you were added to the MATCH list by mistake, contact the financial institution that listed you directly to appeal the placement. The acquirer can then contact Mastercard and petition for your removal. 

Can You Open A Merchant Account While On The MATCH List?

While placement on the MATCH list makes it difficult for merchants to access credit card processing services, it is NOT impossible to open a merchant account - even if you’ve been on the MATCH list for a while.

At Seamless Chex, we specialize in working with high-risk merchants. We strive to understand what led you to placement on the MATCH list and to provide services that help you resolve the underlying issues and avoid setbacks in the future. 

Why Choose Seamless Chex for TMF/MATCH List Merchant Accounts?

We specialize in working with high-risk merchants, and we understand how many companies lose sleep at night over their MATCH list placement. 

Without a doubt, being on the MATCH list has historically made it very difficult for merchants to access payment processing services, but we understand mistakes happen. 

We also understand that there are a lot of processing rules that aren’t clear to merchants. 

Because of this, we work with our customers as individuals and always try to understand why you were placed on the list. 

Ultimately, we believe that securing a functional TMF or MATCH list merchant account shouldn't feel like pulling teeth.

Thanks to our strong relationships, we can support high-risk merchants and allow them to scale their businesses and expand their services. 

We offer solutions to help you grow your operations while also avoiding the pitfalls that may have caused you to be on the MATCH/TMF list in the first place. 

For example, one of the most common reasons merchants wind up on the MATCH list is excessive chargebacks. At SeamlessChex, we provide our merchants with chargeback protection services designed to help you protect your business from chargebacks of all types. 

Ready to learn more? Our TMF and MATCH list merchant accounts allow you to accept credit card and eCheck payments without exorbitant fees or unneeded scrutiny. 

Contact us today to get started. 

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