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Can You Get Taken Off The MATCH List?


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Alternatives for Companies on TMF File

The Terminated Merchant File (TMF) or �MATCH list� is essentially a negative credit rating for people who have (or had) merchant accounts. Most often, a business can get added to the TMF when a business closes and money is owed to the credit card processing company. This can even happen inadvertently if a merchant account is closed and chargebacks occur.

The term MATCH is an acronym for Member Alert To Control High (risk merchants.) MasterCard maintains the list for acquirers (major financial institutions that back merchant accounts for processors and ISOs) who will run your information against this list during the underwriting process. If your business is a partnership or corporation, the names of the principals in your company must be submitted during the application process. Note that if a spouse is on the MATCH list, or the business address is associated with the TMF, then there could be additional questions or you could be denied the right to process.

No matter what you read online, the best way to get off the TMF list is to communicate with the entity that placed you there, and this can take time. You may have to wade through several departments until you get the individual who can negotiate your removal from the list, if this is possible. Assuming that your business owes a relatively small amount of money (a few hundred dollars, for example) and the circumstances are not the result of intentional account abuse, it is possible to be taken off the match list. Note that it could still take weeks for the file to be updated.

Many merchant service companies out there claim that they can �remove� a TMF listing, but these companies are in the same vein as credit repair agencies. They are looking to get money out of you, and at best they will be contacting the same people you could get in touch with by yourself. In many cases it will be impossible to be removed from the TMF list, especially if there are multiple instances of fraud, account abuse, or questionable activity that would keep credit card associations like Visa and MasterCard from signing off on access to credit card processing.

There are credit card processing companies for people on the match list, but they should be seen as a last resort. This is because there are reserve account requirements as well as much higher rates and holdbacks that accompany such a high risk status. You may wait 1-2 weeks for settled funds to clear in order to ensure that you aren�t running a fraudulent scheme or a business model that engenders ill will among its customers. (For example, if you have recurring billing that comes as a surprise to your customers, you will be in Chargeback City, and you merchant processor will either shut you down or jack up your rates.)