The Terminated Merchant File (TMF) (also called the "MATCH File" or "Match List") is a digital file (database) containing information about merchants, and merchant business info, who have had their merchant account services terminated - essentially the TMF is the merchant processing industry's blacklist.
The purpose of the Terminated Merchant File is to keep track of all businesses (and their owners) who have had merchant account services terminated so merchant account providers have a better understanding of who they are dealing with.
The Terminated Merchant File is supposed to be a list of all business owners who have committed fraud, and subsequently had their merchant account services terminated, however, it does not always work like this. Unfortunately, far too often merchant account providers add business to the TMF list too frivolously - may times for things other than fraud.
In reality, merchants are added to the TMF for committing fraud, having fraudulent activity on their account, sustaining high chargebacks (chargebacks above the permitted chargeback ratio), breaching merchant account services contract terms, or just because a merchant account provider decides to put them on the TMF. Since there is no real governance or oversight that prevents merchants from unfairly, or mistakenly, being aded to the TMF the occurrence rate of abuse is high.
Merchants placed on the TMF remain there for 5 years - unless the merchant account provider, or bank, that originally put them on the list has them subsequently removed.
If you landed don the TMF and want to be removed you should contact the institution that initially placed you on the TMF and try to present a case for why you should be removed.
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