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Terminated Merchant File/ TMF / Match List

Looking for a merchant account solution

     
12:39 am on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Six months ago my business was targeted by Nigerian scammers who ran up $4000 in fraudulent charges. I offered to return the funds within 72 hours, but my merchant account bank nevertheless froze all other funds (all legitimate transactions) and closed the account. They would not cooperate and, despite gateway security improvements and the offer to return funds, refused to reinstate my merchant account.

After weeks of fueding, they placed my company on the Match List/ Terminated Merchant File (TMF). This blacklist further cements my inability to attain another merchant account through my own bank (who refused after they heard about the TMF).

Can anyone here offer specific remedies toward the attainment of a new merchant account? I'm not talking about third-party transactors here - I already do offer PayPal on our site. What I need is the functionality of a legitimate merchant account for use in our Authorize.net gateway.

Any and all assistance would shed needed light on one of the most vexing problems inherent to doing business in today's online world. Fraud is growing worse each year and I know my story is becoming less unique among the e-commerce community.

(Incidentally, my company has been recently retasked as a North American-only seller and customer fraud has essentially fallen to zero).

12:44 am on June 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Did you refund the money in the end? A lot of processors will work with you - they might impose some limits on you until you have proven yourself - but it is possible to get a merchant account

-Corey

6:21 am on June 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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At the time there was no way I could, if they refused to remove my company from the match list. I asked for this in writing after they seized funds and closed the account. They would not agree to do this and I could not forfeit what were then my only remaining funds to pay bills.

Their stance was that they wanted funds returned, would also hold all other funds - and STILL close the account. They then intended to wait 6 months to a year before deciding whether they'd 'feel' like removing my company from this blacklist. It was an outrageous situation.

I'm not sure how any of this helps me find another account. My merchant account issuers were not reasonable then and I'm sure they would not be reasonable today. Unless there is some legal recourse for being blacklisted this way - when no fraud was committed by my company.

9:59 am on June 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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What might help is to rename the company and go to another bank and apply under that different name. As far as I know, it is impossible to get a merchant account anywhere for the business name. We once had a merchant that we wanted to set up with our acquiring bank and he was declined because he was on the TMF for that particular business name.

Otherwise, third party processing maybe the only option for you untill you have proven that you are in fact a good merchant. Just show the bank your history from the 3PP after 6 months and maybe they will help you.

Another option may be to contact MasterCard directly, but from my experience, they are very hard to negotiate with.

5:14 pm on June 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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The only entity that can remove you from the TMF file is the entity that placed you on it in the first place. The original situation needs to be remedied first. Since it does not sound as though this is a viable option for you, you’ll need to look at another solution.

What might help is to rename the company and go to another bank and apply under that different name.

Incorrect. Any processor worth dealing with will require a social and a personal guarantee on card not present account. Business name and EIN has little/nothing to do with approval or decline of the account or with tracking TMF merchants. The social of the owner is what matters.

Your best option is to remove yourself from the loop. I would suggest finding a silent partner with good personal credit history (family member) and naming them as a silent partner. When you apply for a merchant account be sure to leave your social security # off of the application and supply only the partner #1, who in this case is your new partner.

2:26 pm on June 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Sorry for the delay - I guess emails are still not getting thru to me on these replies.

You definitely do not want to rename yourself, etc. There is a lot more information on a TMF record than just your business name. Renaming yourself and then having the processor finding out could just have your account terminated and cause a lot more problems.

I do not even recommend the silent partner unless you are a corporation. Depending on your type of business, you might not even need a personal guarantor. Plus your SSN will be required for US processors unless that consider foreign applicants. And then having this, your discount rate will be a lot more.

Most processors will work with you once you explain your situation. They might require a hold back and then once you establish yourself, they will release that money as well. It will take some time and patience.

-Corey