Terminated Merchant Account File or the MATCH List Explained

Maybe the reason you are reading this is because you realized that you have been listed in the Terminated Merchant File or the MATCH list and you are now wondering what exactly TMF is. Do not panic because even other merchants have been caught unaware at some point.

What is TMF or MATCH file?

The creditor can report a default to the credit reporting agency if consumers fail to honor terms of the credit agreements. On applying for an additional credit, the creditor gets the credit report which gives them the past history of the consumer. The acquiring or processing bank of the merchant does not have the same credit reporting agency which implies that it does not have information on the way a business handled merchant processing duties.

Instead, the card associations use a file called the MATCH file. This refers to a database file commonly called the Terminated Merchant File or simply TMF. Visa or MasterCard processing banks or the acquiring banks use it in identifying specific principals and merchants that have been terminated. Approvals of future applications for merchant account are highly unlikely for merchants on this list. Essentially, MATCH list or TMF is a BLACKLIST where being removed once you are there is almost impossible.

What happens once you are in the MATCH list?

Once you are in the MATCH list, your business name, the principal and your business partners are recorded in the same file. Basically, they are blackballed from opening a new merchant account anywhere else. Thus, obtaining another merchant account becomes extremely difficult. Banks use the MATCH list to find out if opening a merchant account is less than the risk tolerance of the bank because merchant processing is a high risk business. Thus, any acquiring bank that you approach trying to open a merchant account with will first contact your previous bank on realizing that you are in the MATCH system to know the conditions on which your account was terminated. The information the bank gets from your previous bank will determine whether your application will be accepted, declined or accepted with certain restrictions.

How can one get out of the MATCH List?

You can only get out of the MATCH list via the bank that shut down your account. On realizing that you have been listed, start by contacting your former acquiring bank. The process is not easy because you will most likely have to wait patiently as you are transferred from one phone to another until you reach the person that can help you. You can even be forwarded to a processing bank.

Once you have reached the right person, you will get the reason or explanation for being put in the MATCH list. You will also be able to ask about the steps to take to get off of the list. Getting off of the list can be impossible or easy depending on the reason why you were put there. If you have been identified with a fraudulent activity, getting out of the list is almost impossible because banks hate fraud.

A termination caused by several chargebacks is correctible over time. If you feel that you have been MATCH listed erroneously, you should work with your acquiring bank to have the details changes and your business removed from the list. A correction will be requested immediately after investigations prove that you were put in the list erroneously.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is TMF or Terminated Merchant File? MF or terminated merchant file refers to a list of merchants whose accounts have been terminated for a reason. TMF does not exist but the term is still used commonly in reference to MATCH file.View More

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