Quite simply, there is little to no difference. The MATCH (Member Alert to Control High Risk Merchants) record was created by Mastercard as a way of compiling information on companies and their owners as to if their merchant accounts have been terminated. With the MATCH list, Mastercard combined a list with the TMF listing (Terminated Merchant File), so each list is used interchangeably. The Terminated Merchant File or TMF list is a list of business owners (merchants) whose accounts have been terminated in the past 5 years for any sort of activity that causes the account holder to appear to be a bad risk. This can include excessive chargebacks or excessive fraudulent transactions; noncompliance with PCI-DSS (payment card industry data security standards), the compromise of merchant account data; laundering, fraud, or collusion on the part of the account holder, or evidence that he was engaged in illegal transactions; an inability of the merchant to meet financial obligations due to bankruptcy or insolvency; or evidence that the account was opened fraudulently and that the identity on the account was stolen, lastly a merchant can be listed for violation of standards (agreement).
When a merchant whose name appears on the MATCH file applies for a merchant account through a new financial institution, their application will be flagged, and it is likely that the new processing bank will turn down the application, deeming it too high-risk. The processing bank may choose to contact the institution that added the merchant’s name to the list and inquire about the circumstances that led to the account termination. Using that information, they may choose to accept the merchant’s application, reject it, or offer a conditional acceptance with restrictions.
It can be hard for a merchant to get his or her name off the TMF list, depending on the reason he or she was listed initially. The only recourse is to contact the banking institution that listed you in the first place and try to resolve whatever issue led to the termination. It turns out that only the processing bank that placed you on the TMF has the power to remove your name. Lucky enough if you feel the TMF listing is unfair, there are lawyers who specialize in this niche. Otherwise, your listing will remain active for five years.