As a small business, everything relies on your merchant account. Hardly anyone walks around with cash these days and, more and more, people are paying with just their phones, and their entire wallet is stored digitally. This makes the ability to accept credit cards (also known as your merchant account) one of the most—if not the most—important parts of your business. However, merchant accounts can become compromised for a variety of reasons. Usually, this happens when the business’s merchant account gets added to the Match List. There are a number of different names for this list, including the TMF List, Terminated Merchant File Match List, Mastercard Match List, and more. Keep reading to learn more about the Match List, what happens if you’re on it, and, most important, how to get off the Match List.
The MATCH in MATCH List stands for Member Alert to Control High-Risk Merchants. It is exactly what it sounds like: A database to alert banks and credit card companies to high-risk merchants whose credit card processing privileges have been terminated for cause. Mastercard Worldwide created it, and they still maintain the list today.
Think of it as an industry blacklist. It can affect many aspects of a business, so much so that it will likely go out of business entirely after being placed on the TMF List. There are many reasons for this, most importantly of which including the 5-year waiting period for automatic removal.
The results of being placed on the MATCH list can be devastating, which makes it so unfortunate to learn that finding out you are on the MATCH List in the first place is very difficult in itself. There is no official notification or alert when it happens unless a bank or processor lets you know. Usually, merchants discover their MATCH status after approaching their bank or processor directly or if they get denied a merchant account.
Some important things to know about the MATCH list includes:
There are many reasons that you may have landed on the TMF Match List. Some of these reasons include:
If you have discovered that you are on the Terminated Merchant File Match List, your business will suffer severe consequences. The significance and severity of the situation are enormous. Some of the consequences for being placed on the Terminated Merchant File Match List include:
After becoming red-flagged, most (if not all) institutions will not do business with you. If they do, it will come with exorbitant fees. Both of these situations will put a business on the fast track to shut down, leaving you without an income and the inability to reopen for a minimum of five years. Even then, it can be almost impossible to recover the lost time, revenue, marketing opportunities, brand building, and more, and reopening your business may be extremely difficult if you are able to weather the 5-year storm.
As mentioned, there are a few ways that a business may fall victim to the MATCH List and be placed on it through no fault of their own. However, there are still some things you can do to protect your business and avoid being placed on the MATCH List.
To things you can do to avoid getting placed on the Mastercard Match List include:
Let’s talk about what you’re really here to find out: How to get off Match List. Once you have been placed on the Match List, it is essential to know your options to see how you can remove yourself, save your business, and save your livelihood.
If you have found yourself on the Match List, we can help you. The Law Offices of Theodore Monroe focuses on litigation and counseling in the areas of payments, credit card processing, e-commerce, direct response marketing, and Federal Trade Commission enforcement. Last year the firm got 100% of the people who came to us off the MATCH list.
Theodore F. Monroe, Founder of TFM Law, has successfully:
Before opening his firm, Mr. Monroe practiced law with Crosby, Heafey, Roach & May (now Reed Smith LLP) and Lewis, D’Amato, Brisbois & Bisgaard (now Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith), where he defended numerous accounting and law firms in professional liability actions, and insurance carriers in bad faith actions.
Before becoming a lawyer, Mr. Monroe worked as a forensic accountant at Coopers & Lybrand, which provided him a background in forensic accounting and financial analysis that is unique among litigators in Los Angeles. Mr. Monroe studied at Duke University Law School, achieved a BS with Honors, Accounting, University of Kentucky, and is a member of the California State Bar and the Kentucky State Bar.