MATCH List and Terminated Merchant File title image

MATCH List and Terminated Merchant File (TMF)

What is the MATCH list?

The Terminated Merchant File is a list of businesses that Visa and Mastercard keep track of. As the name implies, businesses are included in the file if any of their MIDs are canceled due to violations of the rules imposed by the card schemes. When acquirers label a merchant as being high-risk, other acquirers are cautioned against doing business with them.

Some numerous behaviors and practices could result in a merchant being listed on the Terminated Merchant File

  • Committing merchant fraud.
  • Continuing to collect recurring charges after customers cancel a subscription.
  • The merchant is engaged in transaction laundering.
  • The merchant deals with excessive, ongoing fraud.
  • A business increased loss exposure for the industry by violating its merchant agreement.
  • Depositing excessive counterfeit sales.
  • Failure to follow PCI DSS guidelines.

However, the most common reason a business ends up in the Terminated Merchant File is chargebacks.

A company that frequently faces forced payment reversals poses a hazard to the acquirer. As a result, the majority will turn down working with companies that have been added to the Terminated Merchant File.

The MATCH (Member Alert to ControlHigh-Risk Merchants) List provides acquiring banks with a record of high-risk merchants as defined by Mastercard. With the MATCH list, banks screen merchants and determine their risk as merchant account holders. 

The Terminated Merchant File is an older, more accurately called list that has been renamed MATCH (TMF). Mastercard created this to help in the acquisition of banks and detecting such merchants before entering into merchant partnerships with high-risk merchants.

While being on the MATCH list won’t cause you to lose any currently active merchant accounts in good standing, the most severe consequence is that you will struggle to open any new ones while you’re on it.

Mastercard’s acquirers are required to consult the list before onboarding a new merchant, and in the vast majority of cases, they will flat-out reject any merchant on it. Some payment processors that specialize in handling high-risk accounts will accept these merchants, but they will also charge exorbitant rates for their services.

There’s no formal notification process when a merchant is placed on the MATCH list. Most of them only find out they’re on it when they apply for a new account and get rejected.

Why am I on the MATCH list?

If you find yourself on the MATCH list, it’s usually because of excessive chargebacks. Mastercard may occasionally add your name to the list, but more often than not, your acquiring bank will. There is a potential that you could be included on this list if you are a merchant that consistently receives chargebacks.

If your acquirer terminates your merchant account due to excessive chargebacks, Mastercard requires them to add you to the MATCH list.

Additionally, there are further factors. you could be on this list related to security, illegal activity, bankruptcy, fraud, or non-compliance.

Every merchant on the Terminated Merchant File is assigned a reason code that explains why they’re on it:

  • 01 Account Data Compromise 
  • 02 Common Point of Purchase
  • 03 Laundering
  • 04 Excessive Chargebacks
  • 05 Excessive Fraud
  • 06 Unused
  • 07 Fraud Conviction
  • 08 Mastercard Questionable Merchant Audit Program
  • 09 Bankruptcy/Liquidation/Insolvency
  • 10 Violation of Standards
  • 11 Merchant Collusion
  • 12 PCI-DSS Non-compliance
  • 13 Illegal Transactions
  • 14 Identity Theft

Unfortunately, a merchant might be put on the list for a variety of reasons that aren’t fully within their control. For instance, reason codes 01, 02, and 14 apply to identity theft and account breaches in which the merchant is the victim.

Other reason codes cover entirely understandable justifications for severing ties with a credit card processor, such as participation in money-laundering schemes, price-fixing agreements with other businesses, defrauding clients in other ways, or disregarding crucial data security standards.

Then there are the reason codes that apply to merchants that are unable to keep up with the incessant bombardment of chargebacks and fraud attempts that the eCommerce businesses of today are forced to deal with.

Even though the fact that fraud and chargebacks can negatively impact even the most attentive and honest businesses, there are strategies to counteract and prevent them.

The MATCH List is just another reason why keeping up this fight is so important for merchants. 

While Mastercard does have clear rules and requirements about what qualifies a merchant for the MATCH List, placement is largely at the discretion of the acquiring banks and is not subject to a great deal of oversight from Mastercard.

What is the impact of being on the MATCH list?

If an acquiring bank terminates your merchant account, it is a big red flag for other financial institutions and credit networks. Eventually, you will be labeled a high-risk merchant, and many institutions will not do business with you (or will only do so with exorbitant fees). 

Some acquiring banks may decide that you are worth the risk, depending on their risk assessment and the reasons you have for being on the Terminated Merchant list. 

More crucially, if you are on the Terminated Merchant list because of fees or access, it may be challenging to handle credit card payments. As you might expect, a business’s inability to accept credit cards can frequently spell its demise.

How do I get off the Terminated Merchant File or MATCH list?

You can remove yourself from the list for reason code 12 by demonstrating PCI-DSS compliance. There is no remedy for codes for other reasons unless you were accidentally added. You can speak with your acquirer to argue your point if you believe the reason you were added to the list of Terminated Merchants Files is false.

Once Mastercard has been informed that you were added accidentally, the acquirer may contact them. The acquirer does not have the option to remove you if the reason you were added to the list was legitimate, though. The entries on the Terminated Merchant list expire after five years, so there is hope if you fix the issues that got you put on the list.

But it’s crucial to understand that made for the same merchant if another acquirer has reason to add you to the list, or if you have further problems with the same acquirer.

The best thing for merchants on the list to do is to be extremely careful to avoid consequences that may jeopardize any remaining active accounts.

If your name appears on the list and you have to register a new merchant account immediately, you’ll probably have to use one of the highly pricy “high-risk” processors. You can only strive to address the sources of your chargebacks and locate the best provider and conditions you can.

How to avoid being on the MATCH list

Maintaining good business procedures will, for the most part, keep your name off the MATCH list. As a merchant, you should concentrate on managing the aspects that are within your power, such as adhering to all standards and laws and taking all reasonable precautions against fraud and identity theft.

Your chargeback rate must be kept as low as feasible. A chargeback ratio of 1% is often regarded as the highest limit for what is acceptable, however since each chargeback might cost you more than twice the initial amount,

A lower chargeback percentage is usually preferable when taking into account all fees and other costs associated with the transaction.

Since there is so much that can be done to prevent this, it goes without saying that we find it upsetting when a merchant is placed on the MATCH list for reason 04 (high chargebacks).

To recover money and deter chargeback fraud, merchants should educate themselves on the reasons for chargebacks, enhance customer service, and implement other business practices that can prevent chargebacks.

What does MATCH stand for?

MATCH stands for Member Alert To Control High-risk merchants. 

How does Mastercard’s MATCH list work?

Acquirers have the right to add a merchant’s data to the MATCH list when they close a merchant account for a specific cause. It will be challenging to register new merchant accounts for merchants who are on the MATCH list or Terminated Merchant File since they are regarded as highly high risk.

For more Information Contact PayPound at: +44 800 832 1733 or email us

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