What is the Terminated Merchant or MATCH File?

Nov 5th, 2011

The Terminated Merchant or MATCH (Member Alert to Control High-Risk) file is used by MasterCard and Visa processing banks (the acquiring banks) to keep tabs on merchants and/or principals who had their Merchant Accounts terminated for cause. MATCH acts as an invaluable tool to assess the potential risk prior to approving a merchant.

It is essentially a BLACKLIST; and once a merchant is on this list it is highly unlikely that future Merchant Account applications will be approved.

The listing of your business or your name on the MATCH File is a very serious matter.
This did NOT occur by accident, and the acquirer gave the business more than one chance to resolve the issue(s) leading up to the termination and subsequent addition to the MATCH File. The rules of the payment industry are very strict and no acquirer will add a business to the MATCH File without cause.

While during an application for a new Merchant Account the acquiring bank must query the MATCH File to determine whether the company or its principals has been terminated, a possible match does not automatically mean you are prohibited from obtaining merchant processing privileges in the future (NOTE: But it is VERY likely).

Reasons you find yourself or your business on the MATCH File generally include:

  • (Repeat) Violations of your merchant agreement and its rules
  • Unauthorized sales (typically recurring billing/subscriptions)
  • Excessive chargebacks
  • Fraud and/or fraudulent activity (including counterfeit cards)
  • Money laundering

If during a new application for a Merchant Account you discover that either you or your business is listed in the MATCH File and you wish to be removed from the file, you must contact the acquiring bank that added you to the list. Only they have the authority to request a change or deletion of the information they submitted.

About the author:

Nina Khoury is a computer scientist, software engineer, data and information junkie and online marketer. She taught at various universities for more than six years and worked on projects for Fortune 500 companies including cisco, Intel and HP.