A match list, also sometimes known as a “terminated merchant file” or TMF, is a list of merchants who have been terminated from being able to process payments through a particular payment processor or acquiring bank. There are several reasons a merchant might end up on a match list, including:
- Fraudulent activity: If a merchant is found to have engaged in fraud, such as chargebacks or creating fake transactions, they will likely be placed on a match list to prevent them from committing further fraud.
- High chargeback ratio: Chargebacks occur when a customer disputes a charge on their credit card statement and requests a refund. If a merchant has a high ratio of chargebacks compared to the number of transactions they process, they may be placed on a match list as a high risk merchant.
- Violation of terms of service: Payment processors and acquiring banks have certain rules and regulations that merchants must adhere to. If a merchant violates these terms, they may be terminated and placed on a match list.
- Inability to pay debts: If a merchant fail to settle outstanding debts for example debt for chargebacks and fines, they may be terminated and placed on a match list
A TMF account is an account that is placed on the match list, and once a merchant is on this list, they are typically unable to process payments through the payment processor or acquiring bank that placed them there.
It is possible for a merchant to get off a match list, but it can be difficult and it depends on the reason they were placed on the list in the first place. If the reason was a one-time mistake or a misunderstanding, the merchant may be able to appeal the decision or negotiate with the payment processor or acquiring bank to have the account reinstated. If the reason was fraud or a pattern of violations, it may be more difficult for the merchant to be removed from the match list.
In either case, it may be beneficial for the merchant to work with a professional to help them understand why they were placed on the match list and to develop a plan for getting off the list.