Why Businesses Get Put On and Taken Off the Merchant Account MATCH List


March 15, 2021

It is hard to imagine a world without card payments. 51% of consumers consider credit cards to be helpful to their lifestyle. As a business, failing to provide customers with the option to pay through credit/debit cards would be detrimental to your bottom line. Consumers are looking for an easy way to purchase things on or offline, and not supporting their preferred payment method could send them straight to a competitor instead. This could be your reality if you ever find yourself on the merchant account MATCH list. If you are already on the list or working to keep your business off of it, this post will help you.

What the MATCH List Is and How To Get on It

The MATCH list, otherwise known as the TMF (Terminated Merchant File), was created and is managed by MasterCard. It is simply a database that contains a high-risk merchant list that can be used by payment processors, such as inquiring banks when vetting new payment processing applicants. If a business has had its account terminated by a payment processor, they are likely to appear on the merchant account MATCH list. There are multiple reasons for merchant account termination, including:

  1. Excessive chargebacks
  2. Excessive fraud
  3. Bankruptcy/insolvency/liquidation
  4. Fraud conviction
  5. Violation of card payment standards
  6. Non-compliance to security regulations like the PCI DSS
  7. Merchant collusion
  8. Identity theft
  9. Illegal transactions
  10. Money laundering

How Being on the List Will Affect Your Business

Ending up on the list could make it tough for you to find a new payment processor for your business. Other processors will typically refer to the list when screening your business and considering working with you. The fact that your business is on the list could portray it as a tricky customer for them. Presence on the list makes it tough for you to accept credit card payments, which could mean losing customers to the competition. 

The merchant account MATCH list doesn’t bar payment processors from working with a business; it only acts as an indication of how risky a business is. Payment processors can of course still choose to work with your business if they’re willing to accept the potential ramifications.

Getting Off the MATCH List

Businesses remain on the MATCH list for five years before they are automatically removed. This is too long of a time to do business without accepting card-based payments. If the reason behind your account termination was serious, such as a fraud conviction, you might have to wait the entire five years before you can accept card payments normally. You could get off of the merchant account MATCH list earlier if:

  1. It’s discovered you were added due to an error – payment processors can, at times, make mistakes that could have you end up on the MATCH list. By proving that it was a mistake, you can be removed from the list.
  2. You got there due to non-compliance to PCI DSS and are now compliant – proving PCI DSS compliance will help you get off the list.

It might take some time before you can get removed from the list, so ideally you should look for an alternative to use as your situation gets sorted out.

Work With a Reliable High-Risk Payment Processor

High-risk payment processors like T1 Payments specialize in dealing with businesses on the high-risk merchant list- businesses that have had their merchant accounts terminated or operate in high-risk industries like gambling and adult entertainment.

They understand the risk that comes with working with such businesses and have measures in place to mitigate the risks like rolling reserves. In fact, the best of them have solutions that can reduce common risks, such as chargeback and reduction tools. The trick is to find a reliable high-risk payment processor as you work your way out of the merchant account MATCH list. 

Your customers deserve easy payment processes. Don’t let being on the MATCH list complicate your business’ ability to accept payments. Apply now to work with T1 Payments or contact us at 1-866-518-2216 for more information.