Merchants who have been placed on the TMF list may still be able to obtain a merchant account. There are a number of ways to end up on the TMF list.
The TMF, Terminated Merchant File, or, as it is known now, the MATCH LIST is maintained by Mastercard as a blacklist of terminated merchants. It is used by merchant processing banks to screen potential applicants, who may have been terminated in the past. Banks consult the list when adding new merchant accounts.
When placed on the MATCH LIST, the business name, principal, and any business partners are recorded. They are blackballed from opening new merchant accounts elsewhere. The LIST is used by banks to analyze risks of prospective new merchants. You remain on The LIST for 5 years.
How Did I Get On the List?
There are a number of ways for you to end up on the TMF list. The most common, by far is excessive chargebacks.
The best way to keep off the list is to be careful and use proper due diligence. Be aware that fraud is out there, and it is up to you to keep fraud at bay, but there are many tools and best practices that could be put in place to avoid problems from the beginning, or mitigate any damage that may have already taken place.
Here is the full list of ways to be put on The LIST:
How Do I Get Off the List?
It is very difficult to get off the list because only the bank that put you on the list can take you off, and the only way they would do that is if there were some major error or misunderstanding that they are required to reverse.
Banks and processing partners have an obligation to add merchants onto the LIST when they feel that one of these major rules have been broken. Should they NOT put you on the LIST and you find an account with another provider and cause the same problem, the bank that did not follow rules and add you to the MATCH list is responsible for any fines and losses associated with the new merchant account because they did not fulfill their obligation to the new provider by informing them of past rule breaking. Therefore, when you are placed on the MATCH list, it is very unlikely you will get off.
Luckily, there is a limit to how long you can remain on the list, and that is 5 years. After five years, a previous MATCH’d company and principles should be automatically removed from the list.
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While a MATCH listing is certainly bad, and difficult, if not impossible to be removed, it does not have to mean the death of your business. If there is a legitmate story and reason to the MATCH listing that does not pose further risk to a payment processing provider, there are providers that will consider your story and still help you with you payment processing needs.
At EMC2Billing, we specialize in difficult payment challenges, and we would love to hear your story and see how we might help secure a strong high risk payment processing partner to help you thrive.