Merchant Account Declined, Top 4 Reasons You Were Denied

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Many merchants make it through the process of applying for credit card processing, only to find later that their application was declined. Without a merchant account, your business will be unable to accept and process ecommerce transactions. Consider the following list of possible reasons why you were declined by your bank, along with where you can turn to next.

Personal credit issues

Unfortunately, not every business venture works out. This can lead to a bad credit history that negatively affects your future endeavors. When you apply for a merchant account with a traditional lender, your personal credit history will be examined. Their main concern is that the business owner has good credit and consistent cash flow coming into the account.

Tax liens

Your taxes? You might not have expected that taxes would affect your ability to secure a merchant account with a credit card processor, but they do. If you have any outstanding tax liens, the processor will not be willing to offer you an account. Tax liens are considered “bad” debt against you; they can consist of businesses taxes (employee tax, payroll taxes, etc.) or unpaid taxes on your personal account.

Risky business type or industry

Each credit card processor will have a similar list of qualifications they check, which includes examining whether your business falls within the high-risk category. If your business is considered potentially risky, most credit card processing companies will be unwilling to work with you. Ultimately, their main concern will be protecting their interests.

Match List

The TMF (Terminated Merchant File) or MATCH List is a “blacklist” credit card processors keep a close eye on. Merchants that have been flagged as a credit risk and have been terminated by a credit card processor are placed on this list. The reasons you might be placed on this list include: previous unpaid merchant accounts, fees owed or outstanding bills to a credit card company. The majority of processors will not want to touch your business if it’s been placed on the MATCH list.


Chargebacks are dreaded by every merchant. High chargeback rates can seriously damage a merchant’s reputation and/or cause the merchant’s account to be closed. If your applying for a merchant account and your business type is known for experiencing high chargeback rates, you will probably be denied.

Turn to an Alternative Lender

An alternative provider like EMerchantBroker specializes in working with merchants categorized as “high risk”, have a bad credit history or are listed on the TMF List. Even for those with a merchant account declined elsewhere, EMB offers a wide range of merchant services, including: a merchant account, chargeback protection programs and business funding options. If your struggling with bad credit or were placed on the MATCH List, EMB is still happy to work with you. If securing payment processing has been an issue for you, make sure you research your options with a high-risk processor.

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