MATCH List and Terminated Merchant File (TMF)


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One of the serious consequences merchants face when they have excessive chargebacks is having their account terminated and being added to the Member Alert to Control High-Risk Merchants (MATCH) list.

The MATCH list, also called the Terminated Merchant File (TMF), is a database containing a list of merchants whose payment processing accounts have been revoked by other payment processors and acquirers. Unfortunately, if you’re on the TMF or MATCH list, you may have difficulties getting a merchant account from other providers as processors often refer to the MATCH list when deciding whether to approve or deny your merchant account application.

So, what can you do to get off the list?

What Is a MATCH or TMF list?

What Is a MATCH or TMF list?

The MATCH list, which was previously referred to as the TMF list, is a database containing a record of merchants who have had their merchant accounts terminated by other processors and financial institutions because of having a high level of risk. Having excessive chargebacks is the most common reason merchants are added to the list. Other common reasons why merchants find themselves on the list include:

  • Non-compliance
  • Illegal transactions or business activities
  • Fraud cases
  • Identity theft
  • Bankruptcy
  • Money laundering
  • Violation of standards.

The list compiled by MasterCard is used by acquiring financial institutions to determine the merchants they should or shouldn’t do business with. Businesses that are listed on the MATCH list often have difficulties opening new merchant accounts as most acquirers will be unwilling to work with them. Unfortunately, most merchants only get to know that they’re on the MasterCard MATCH list when their merchant account application gets rejected, as MasterCard has no formal way of letting merchants know they are listed.

Is It Possible to Get a Merchant Account if You’re on the MATCH List?

Yes, you can still get a merchant account if you’re on the MATCH list. Most acquirers and processors that are willing to offer MATCH list credit card processing solutions are those that provide high-risk accounts. This is because being on the MATCH list signifies that you’re a risky business.

So, if you’re on the MATCH list and you really need a merchant account, you can get a merchant matching in the form of a high-risk processor. The good thing with getting a high-risk merchant account is that you’ll continue processing credit card payments, but you should be aware that this account comes with higher processing fees. Also, TMF merchants who provide high-risk accounts will require you to have a reserve account.

Additionally, getting a merchant account while on the MATCH list will also depend on why you’re on the list and for how long you’ve been listed. For instance, if you’ve been added due to PCI non-compliance, you can easily get off the list by becoming compliant. Similarly, if you were added to the list by mistake, your acquirer can rectify this by informing MasterCard.

Notably, an entry on the TMF list expires in five years. This means that if you’ve been on the list for a few years and you were able to address the issues that got you listed in the first place, you can get a new merchant account after five years. Failure to address the issues that led you to be listed can lead to the closure of other merchant accounts and also result in additional MATCH entries. That is why merchants are advised to quickly rectify the issues that led them to be listed in the first place.  

How Do Merchants Get off the List?

Once a merchant is listed on the MATCH list, they’re prohibited from accepting and processing credit cards for five years. As mentioned before, depending on the reasons why you were listed, you may be able to get off the list before the end of the five-year period.

However, most merchants who are on the list have to wait for five years before they can be free to process credit card payments. Getting listed also means you’ll have difficulty getting a payment processor willing to work with you. Based on the dire consequences that come with being listed, the best thing merchants can do is stay off the list. Get to learn of all the reasons that can put you on the list and avoid them.

Alternative Payment Options for Merchants on the MATCH List

Are you on the TMF list and wondering what forms of payment you can accept other than credit cards? Well, you have a few options, as explained below.

  • Cash – Being on the MATCH doesn’t stop you from accepting cash payments. However, this could limit the growth of your business as most customers prefer to make credit card payments.
  • eChecks – eChecks payments don’t require having a merchant account. The funds get deposited directly into your account. eChecks and ACH payments are particularly suitable for businesses dealing with the subscription or recurring forms of payments.
  • Cryptocurrency – Cryptocurrency payments are directly deposited into your crypto wallet. That means that, just like eChecks, you don’t need a payment processor to accept cryptocurrency funds. The downside is that not many people use crypto as a form of payment. Also, cryptocurrencies are more volatile than dollars and other currency forms.
  • Wallet apps – Mobile wallet apps, such as Venmo, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, are suitable for peer-to-peer payments. As long as your customers are using the same service as you, money exchange is possible.

How to Avoid Being on the TMF?

How to Avoid Being on the TMF?

There are many reasons why merchants are put on the MATCH list. When a merchant is listed, they’re paired with the reason why they are on the list. Most merchants and payment processors know these reasons that are differently coded. The best way to avoid being listed is to understand the reasons and come up with strategies to avoid them. 

For instance, the most common reason why most merchants get listed is due to high chargebacks and fraud rates. To avoid a high chargeback ratio, merchants can use chargeback management strategies. Fraudulent purchases can also be prevented by fraud prevention tools. Merchants should also be PCI compliant and avoid bad and unsafe business practices.

Also, merchants that run businesses that are categorized as high-risk should partner with high-risk merchant account providers. Such providers understand the unique needs of high-risk businesses and have merchant products that are tailored to suit these needs. Also, such providers have strategies in place that ensure compliance and prevent high fraud and chargeback ratios.

Notably, if you’re wondering whether your business is on the MasterCard MATCH list, you can always ask your payment processor or acquiring bank to check for your business name on the list. If you believe that you’ve been added to the list by mistake, you should talk to the acquiring bank that added you to the list so that they can get you off the list.


If you’re on the Mastercard MATCH list, it isn’t the end of your business. Although most merchant service providers may not be willing to work with you, you can choose to seek the services of a merchant that specializes in offering high-risk merchant accounts. By partnering with a provider such as eMerchant Authority, you’ll get the merchant services you need to process payments despite being on the MATCH list.