The terminated merchant file (TMF) or TMF HIGH RISK MATCH list is used by credit card companies to screen potential merchants. Those deemed high-risk are placed on the list and so prevented from processing credit card payments or doing future business under any other name. Regardless of the cause – whether it’s a failed business model, fraud, merchant collusion, or excessive chargebacks – ending up on the TMF list is a fast road to nowhere for any business.
SecureGlobalPay can help. SecureGlobalPay believes that every business deserves a second chance, even those on the TMF terminated merchant file list. By offering customized payment solutions to all types of businesses, SecureGlobalPay can help merchants take care of all outstanding bills from their former processors.
Merchants on the TMF terminated merchant file list can apply to SecureGlobalPay by using the quick and easy online application. Although applying is no guarantee of acceptance, SecureGlobalPay can approve applications and begin providing payment gateways, chargeback mitigation programs and other solutions to merchants in as little as 24 hours.
MATCH was initially created by MasterCard but is now used and shared by all credit card brands. The list keeps track or high-risk merchants as well as those with a history of excessive chargebacks and provides a database of information about those businesses their owners, as well as the reasons and/or codes for why they were placed on a TMF list. The goal is to prevent other processors from taking a risk on those merchants. Acquiring banks have the authority to add or remove merchants from the list at their discretion.
There are no checks and balances on MATCH listings, no appeals process and no requirement on MasterCard to verify information on any merchants added to the list. Merchants can be placed on the list by mistake and can only be removed by the acquiring bank that placed them there. This puts the merchant in a position of great disadvantage.
How MATCH is used
During the underwriting phase of a merchant’s evaluation by an acquiring bank, the MATCH list is consulted. If the merchant’s name is on the list, the acquiring bank has the right to contact the financial institution that placed the merchant there and request details as to the reason for placement on the list. Most merchants do not find out they are on the MATCH list until they apply with a new credit card processor.
The information on the MATCH list can be used to accept, decline or provide conditional approval of a merchant’s application. Conditional approval can mean caps on monthly credit card processing volumes or rolling reserves to shield the credit card processing company from risk.
Ending up on the MATCH list
A merchant can end up on the MATCH list for a variety of reasons ranging from excessive chargebacks to money laundering.
Details on the MATCH list are coded to explain the reasons for a merchant’s place on the list:
- (01) Account Data Compromise: Knowingly or unknowingly, a merchant compromised the security of account information.
- (02) Common Point of Purchase (CPP): A merchant’s unauthorized disclosure or use of account information was used to his benefit.
- (03) Laundering: A merchant attempts to defraud its acquiring bank by giving it purchase records of invalid transactions between the business and the person and card holder.
- (04) Excessive Chargebacks: A merchant whose monthly chargeback ratio exceeded 1% of its MasterCard transaction in an amount greater than $4,000. (NOTE: This will vary for American Express acquiring banks, the chargeback policy of which is outlined in the company’s terms and conditions.
- (05) Excessive Fraud: A merchant whose fraudulent or counterfeit transactions exceeded a dollar-volume of 8% in a single month and/or who had 10 or more fraudulent transactions that equaled $5,000 in one given month.
- (06) Reserved for Future Use
- (07) Fraud Conviction: A merchant’s whose principal owner or partner was convicted of criminal fraud.
- (08) MasterCard Questionable Merchant Audit Program: A merchant that qualifies as a MasterCard Questionable Merchant under the Audit Program.
- (09) Bankruptcy/Liquidation/Insolvency: A merchant that can no longer meet its financial obligations.
- (10) Violation of Standards: A merchant guilty of violating payment card standards and procedures.
- (11) Merchant Collusion: A merchant that conspired to commit fraud.
- (12) Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard Non-Compliance: A merchants that failed to adhere to the requirements of the PCI Data Security Standard.
- (13) Illegal Transactions: A merchant knowingly participated in illegal transactions.
- (14) Identity Theft: A false identity was used to enter into an unlawful merchant agreement.
MasterCard’s rules can be found in its guidelines.
Leaving the MATCH list
In order to be removed from the terminated merchant file MATCH list, a merchant must contact a former provider and request removal. Merchants remain on the list for five years and can only be removed by the same bank that added it to the list. Removal is a difficult and can be an extremely time-consuming process.
Ease of removal from the MATCH list depends on the reason a merchant was first added there. Merchants blacklisted due to fraud will have the most difficult time as banks take fraud very seriously.
Merchants blacklisted for chargebacks will be required to prove they have satisfied all outstanding chargebacks and have accrued no new ones. Banks satisfied that this is the case will remove the merchant from the list.
Merchants able to prove their placement on the list was in error can expect to be removed once the bank investigation confirms the error.
If all else fails, merchants can retain the services of an attorney who specializes in TMF High Risk merchant accounts or seek arbitration.
Avoiding the TMF High Risk list
Merchants who wish to stay off the terminated merchant file should avoid chargebacks. Effectively managing credit card disputes can help them avoid falling prey to this most common reason for ending up on the TMF High Risk MATCH list.
Offering customers immediate refunds when they complain can help prevent a dispute from turning into a chargeback.
Communication is another key. Merchants that take care to ensure their contact information, including a contact number and e-mail address, is prominently displayed on their website, e-mails, receipts and correspondence are more likely to avoid disputes. It should be displayed the way it will appear on customers’ credit card statements.
Confirmation e-mails containing purchase details, privacy, return and refund policies will remind customers of their transactions and help avoid a chargeback dispute.
Businesses that adhere to the law and best ethical practices are more likely to remain off the list.
Obtaining a TMF merchant account
Merchants that find themselves on the MATCH list can still get a TMF High Risk merchant account. If your business can show documentation of no outstanding debts, then SecureGlobalPay can offer you assistance on a previously TMF merchant account.
Documentation of clear processing history since the MATCH event, an explanation for the lapse and an action plan to avoid similar situations in the future will only improve a business’ chances of approval.
Documentation necessary for account approval
Businesses seeking a SecureGlobalPay TMF High Risk merchant account should begin by filling out our secure online form. Underwriters will ask merchants for:
- A valid, government-issued photo ID (e.g., driver’s license, state/provincial ID, etc.)
- A bank attestation or void check
- Bank statements (3 months worth)
- Processing statements (3 months worth)
- SSN (Social Security Number) or EIN (Employer Identification Number)
- The URL to your secure, fully-operational website
SecureGlobalPay’s streamlined application process grants approval to eligible merchants within 24 – 48 hours. (Please note that application does not guarantee approval.)
Preparing for the underwriter review
The underwriter’s goal is to ascertain whether or not the merchant under review operates according to a business model that is unlikely to result in a high number of transaction disputes or chargebacks that would burden credit card processors. Underwriters also seek to ensure that the merchant is not engaged in questionable business practices.
Being shut down by a former processor sets a bad precedent so underwriters will examine a merchant’s website, bank statements, credit scores and credit card processing history. Red flags include:
- A troubled payment history
- Negative account balances
- Excessive chargeback volume
Merchants that avoid questionable activity, pay all outstanding debts, accrue savings and get a principal in the business with a sound credit history will improve their chances of approval.
TMF Merchant Account Approval with SecureGlobalPay
Ending up on a TMF list need not be the end of your business aspirations.
SecureGlobalPay approves merchants on a TMF High Risk match list. Let SecureGlobalPay place your business on the road to financial recovery.
At SecureGlobalPay, our policy is to provide customer service and specialized merchant accounts to those who needs them, regardless of circumstances. This includes businesses that have ended up on the Terminated Merchant File list, whether for excessive chargeback rates or outstanding chargeback payments.
Contact SecureGlobalPay for a consultation or simply apply below.
- No Application Fees
- Competitive rates
- No VISA/MasterCard Required
- Multiple Secure Payment Gateway Options
- LOW Rates and Fees
- No extensive credit checks