Merchant Account Placed on MATCH / TMF list

When merchants are searching for the term MATCH or TMF as it relates to credit card processing, it’s already a bad sign.  Let’s look at what is it and how to deal with it.


Member Alert to Control High Risk Merchant (MATCH) is a blacklist created by MasterCard to keep track of merchants and owners that committed an offence and have been terminated.  Terminated Merchant File (TMF) is essentially an older version of the same list.   Card Brands (Visa, MC, AmEx, Discover), Acquiring banks and Payment Providers are using this list to automatically decline merchants.  You can find full MasterCard merchant account rules HERE.

Why have I been placed on MATCH?

There are 14 reasons why a merchant can be blacklisted, they are shown below.  A Payment Provider, Acquiring Bank, or Card Brands (AmEx, MasterCard, etc) can add a merchant to MATCH.  Merchant usually receives a letter with an explanation of why they were added to MATCH.  We see a lot of merchants complaining that they didn’t receive any communication, usually it’s because thy missed an email or the letter.

MATCH List Reason CodeTitleExplanation
01Account Data CompromiseAccount data is stolen from the card-present merchant and used with other merchants
02Common Point of PurchaseAccount data is stolen from the card-present merchant and used with other merchants
03LaunderingMerchant processed transactions that did not involve a bona fide cardholder
04Excessive ChargebacksMerchant breached predetermined chargeback thresholds
05Excessive FraudMerchant breached predetermined fraud-to-sales dollar volume thresholds
07Fraud ConvictionOne of the business's owners was convicted of criminal fraud
08Mastercard Questionable Merchant Audit ProgramMerchant is labeled a “Questionable Merchant,” as determined by MastercCard guidelines
09Bankruptcy, Liquidation, InsolvencyMerchant is unable to discharge all financial obligations
10Violation of StandardsMerchant was in violation of one or more of the card network’s regulations
11Merchant CollusionMerchant participated in fraudulent collusive activities
12PCI-DSS NoncomplianceMerchant wasn’t compliant with PCI-DSS requirements
13Illegal TransactionsMerchant processed illegal transactions
14Identity TheftMusiness owner’s identity is in question

How long is a merchant on MATCH/TMF list?

MATCH period lasts for 5 years, after which the merchant is automatically removed.

What merchants can do once they are on MATCH/TMF?

Merchant can contest the decision to be placed on MATCH by writing a letter and stating valid reasons.  Providers will usually review their decision again, this is especially useful when one of the Card Brands placed you on MATCH.  For example MasterCard has been known to place merchants on MATCH for ‘violating MC standards’.  If a Payment Provider finds that it doesn’t pose liability to them, they can accept the merchant for payment processing even though they are on MATCH.

Feel free to contact us and let us help you look through your MATCH case.  Contact HERE