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MAG Insights

  • MAG Announces 2014 Annual Conference Program for Merchant Payments Professionals

    The Merchant Advisory Group (MAG) announces the conference line-up for the MAG 2014 Annual Conference, September 16-18 at the Marriott Harbor Beach Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
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  • Collaborating on Operational Issues

    At the next MAG annual meeting [September 16 - 18 in Ft. Lauderdale] an important, new discussion will take place. The MAG will invite the card brands to discuss a compendium of merchant suggested operational improvements. To our knowledge no other organization has collected and prioritized the great ideas for operational improvements we hear from merchants every day...this will be another industry first for the MAG.
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  • New MAG Bench Marking and Best Practices Initiative

    The MAG communication committee is embarking on an important new initiative and would like your input. Historically there has been very little payment systems benchmarking data or a source for payment systems best practices in the merchant community. As a result, it is difficult at best for even the largest merchants to understand what they are doing well and where they can improve. The MAG proposes to remedy this through a series of data / information gathering surveys. The data collected from member surveys will be aggregated and made anonymous so that we will mitigate the risk of individual company’s information becoming public.
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  • A Mobile Wallet Day in the Life

    Imagine this: On a sunny spring day, Jen, a 36 year-old wife and mother, puts her kids on the bus for school and leaves her suburban home for yet another busy day. Her first stop is the gas station to fill-up her SUV. She used to go wherever was convenient during her day, but now she makes a point to fill-up at stations in one specific chain because their new smartphone app gives her $.10 off per gallon when she uses the app to operate the pump and pay using her stored checking account information.
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  • MAG Sponsor Spotlight

    Despite powerful support from the major players and huge amounts money spent on it, NFC based mobile payments have not taken off. Now there is a movement to change how mobile payments work, making them simpler, better and cheaper. There are also new technologies that take the pain out of merchants supporting mobile payments.
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  • MAG Member Corner

    Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc., is the parent company of two of America’s most recognized brands, Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins. Dunkin’ Brands’ nearly 100 percent franchised business model includes more than 7,700 Dunkin' Donuts restaurants and nearly 2,500 Baskin-Robbins restaurants in the U.S. alone. Dunkin’ Donuts has a more seasoned gift card program and recently launched two exciting initiatives that utilize the Dunkin’ Donuts Stored Value Card (DD Card) in a powerful way. These two initiatives, including the launch of a mobile application and a rewards program, are designed to reinforce Dunkin’ Donuts’ coffee and breakfast leadership and support the brand’s steady, strategic growth. As a franchisor, we are always looking for ways to improve our restaurants profitability.
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  • Board Member Corner

    Imagine for a moment that you are a business owner and the primary product you sell is a product that everyone needs, but is extremely competitive, driving the profit margin down to less than 4%. Now imagine that in order to sell that product, you have to accept some form of credit card, which typically takes 1.75% to 2.50% of your sale. Hypothetically, let's call that product "gas". Just to help you build your business case for selling that product, let's put a number to this product, and call that price $3.50 per unit, with a $0.12 profit margin. Oh yes, and your profit margin is a fixed number, not a percentage of sales, so if your product price moves up or down, your margin stays the same. Now, because the product is so competitive, add a daily swing in your profit of up to +/- $0.08. With your cost of payment, which does of course, change with the price of your product, running at an average of $0.07 per unit. Build me a business case for jumping into that business. Crazy right? For any good businessman, that's a tough proposition.
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  • Letter From the CEO

    It’s not just that Visa’s mad at Walmart and Walmart’s mad at Visa. Everybody connected to payments is mad at everybody else; and, it seems to be getting worse!
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  • The MAG Announces Staff Addition

    The Merchant Advisory Group, the MAG, is pleased to announce Liz Garner has joined the MAG staff in a newly created role as Vice President. Liz has held positions with both the National Restaurant Association and with the Food Marketing Institute. Liz brings to the MAG her considerable experience in advocating for merchants as well as a strong payments background.
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  • Member Perspective

    June 3, 2013-My experience with the MAG started after I left ADS and joined Tesoro. As someone new to the merchant community, I immediately began to realize that many merchants had a superficial understanding of payments.
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  • Letter From the CEO

    The MAG responded to news of recent breaches involving payment card data in a public release dated January 13, 2014. The MAG felt compelled to respond in light of what we felt were biased or uniformed reports by many in the media to the affect that merchants were primarily to blame for the breaches.
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  • MAG Sponsor Spotlight

    The recent exposure of card data, following security breaches at a number of retailers is just the latest in an unfortunately long line of such events. Not restricted to small owner-operated stores, some of the most sophisticated and well run retailers on the planet find themselves in the press for all the wrong reasons. For any who have been even tangentially involved in a data breach either as retailer, acquirer or technology vendor, the pressure is acute and unforgettable and this says nothing to the impact on our cardholder customers.
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  • Innovate Now

    I am proud to have had the opportunity to present the AnyWhereMobile Payment Network (AWM) at the MAG 2014 Mid-Year Conference. MShift’s ambition is to calm the interchange waters between issuers, merchants, and payment networks through innovation, rather than litigation and legislation. The blended per transaction debit interchange pricing that was presented represents a 50% reduction from today’s debit interchange rate.
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  • MAG Member Corner

    In light of the recent data breaches at fellow merchants, there is a heightened focus on security and fraud in the payment industry and beyond. Even government entities are inquiring, investigating, and likely considering further regulation. Unintentional, ill-informed decisions by any of the stakeholders could lead to significant work and investment with little impact on fraud. For that reason, it is essential to understand the benefits, limitations and consequences of any approach relative to the critical objectives.
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  • Board Member Corner

    Many merchants do not have a complete understanding of the total cost of payment acceptance for their business. While payments may be esoteric to a merchant's core business (buying and selling goods and services), the costs of various payment methods vary widely and often equal or exceed a merchant's bottom line profit.
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  • MAG Mid-Year Conference

    The MAG 2014 Mid-Year Conference held February 11-13th in Atlanta, GA, was a success despite the 100-year Atlanta winter storm. The conference showed record attendance with over 200 attendees from cross industry verticals .
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  • MAG Issues Press Release: Encourages Focus on Comprehensive Solution for Payment Fraud

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  • The MAG's Response to Fed Solicitation for comments on Payment System Improvement

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  • Letter from the CEO

    December 4, 2013 - One of the most common payment themes over the past several decades has been the industry’s desire to get rid of cash and checks which compete with cards for payments. Dale Reistad, a visionary executive, headed up a consulting firm in the early years known as Payment Systems Incorporated (PSI), and coined the phrase the “cashless society”, a theme that reverberated throughout the industry and became the banner of many in the payments community.
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  • MAG 2014 Board of Directors Election Results

    MAG board members Lee Jurgens with Ralph Lauren, Dee O’Malley with Best Buy and Chris Priebe with Southwest Airlines were up for re-election in 2014.
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  • MAG Mid-Year Conference February 11-13, 2014

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  • 2013 Annual Conference Recap

    The MAG 2014 Annual Conference was a huge success! Held October 7-9, 2013 in New Orleans, LA, this annual event included presentations and panels on topics such as mobile initiatives, best practices and current issues in the payments industry, legislation and more.
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  • MAG Member Resource: Webinar Recordings

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  • 2013 Webinar and Education Summary

    2013 was a successful year with the newly formed Education and Webinar Task Force and the enhanced goal of 13 webinars and 4 in-person education sessions.
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  • Board Member Corner

    December 4, 2013 - As a small-ticket quick service retailer, speed of service is a critical element in the operational excellence we strive to deliver to our 28 million plus customers a day across the globe. Deployment of credit and debit card acceptance in the U.S. almost 10 years ago was a significant change in the payment experience for our business and our customers.
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  • Member Corner

    Accepting credit card payments has become a mainstay for companies both large and small, yet few organizations have the expertise required to effectively manage their credit card payment processing. Without access to the right resources, it can be a frustrating navigating the myriad nuances of this side of their business.
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  • Join a MAG Committee Today

    The MAG has made incredible progress this past year and we have our many committees to thank for this! In 2013 we jump started our education program to include 13 webinars and 4 education sessions, we redesigned the MAG website, we improved our financial reporting and planning, and have improved our communication to all stakeholders in the payment industry.
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  • Sponsor Spotlight - Exactly Which Interchange Are You Paying?

    I was invited to give a keynote speech at the Strategic Leadership Forum of the ETA last month in Scottsdale. As one of the original eight members of the Bankcard Services Association (BSA - the former name of what became the ETA) formed in 1988 and as its first Vice-President, I thought the ETA members present might enjoying hearing a little history about the formation of their organization that I don’t believe they had ever heard.
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  • Sponsor Spotlight - Evolution of Payments

    If you’ve been in this business for a few years, you’ve likely seen the evolution of the payments business, both in terms of the products available to consumers and the ways these products are used in local stores and locations.
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  • SHAZAM – Upgrade to Elite Sponsor

    An athlete once said, “The best way to become a gold medalist is to partner with one.” Isn’t that the truth? Whether we’re talking sports, business, or anything else we do in life, the partners we choose make all the difference.
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  • New MAG Members & Sponsors

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  • Innovate Now

    Mobile Authentication Corp. is the Owner of the Exclusive Patent Rights for the US Financial Services Industry to US Patent #6,993,658 “The Use of Personal Communication Devices for User Authentication” used for SMS Out-of-Band, One-Time Password (OTP) generation to secure Retail Merchant Payments on the Internet and on Mobile Wallets, in addition to the physical Point-of-Sale.
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  • EMV: A Game Changer for the USA

    Sept. 20, 2013 - As the US weighs up the EMV challenge, the country finds itself uniquely positioned to capitalize on the promise it brings.
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  • Letter from the CEO

    September 4, 2013 - As we approach the MAG’s 5th Annual Conference October 7-9th in New Orleans, payments issues are dominating the news, especially the recent Washington District Court’s ruling against the Fed’s interpretation of the Durbin amendment. As a veteran of the formative years of debit, I’d like to offer my perspective.
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  • Member Perspective

    September 4, 2013 - I walked into the back of a huge ballroom at the conference hotel in Orlando in June 2012. I was feeling uncomfortable - it was the annual Visa Conference and I was new to this industry.
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  • Sponsor Spotlight

    September 4, 2013 - My association with the MAG started at its inception earlier in my career when I was working at Chase Merchant Services. Then, it was only a small gathering and we viewed it as more of a merchant user group.
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  • Board Member Corner

    September 4, 2013 - As many of you are aware, in 2012 several merchants and merchant trade associations filed a lawsuit challenging the Federal Reserve’s implementation of Regulation II, pursuant to the Durbin Amendment.
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  • Why Debit Cards Will Survive with Lower Swipe Fees

    September 4, 2013 - Many in the banking industry are proclaiming the sky is falling in light of the European Union's recent move to cap interchange fees and a U.S. federal court ruling that current debit swipe fee caps are too high.
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  • MAG Position on Debit Routing with EMV

    June 25, 2013-The MAG represents most of the largest merchants in the U.S. that today process in excess of one trillion dollars in card payments. The MAG and its members participate in the EMV Forum and have been intimately involved in the dialogue surrounding EMV rollout in the U.S. and specifically the efforts to implement the routing requirements of Reg II (Durbin amendment).
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  • Letter from the CEO

    June 6, 2013 - A couple of years ago, Digital Transactions carried a cover story proclaiming the “Rise of the Merchants”. The story sited the Durbin amendment as well as several other examples of merchant assertiveness related to payments. The theme seemed to resonate throughout the trade Press and merchants began to be accorded a level of respect they had never experienced.
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  • Board Member Corner

    June 3, 2013-The Visa forum held in Hollywood Florida May 12 – 15 sent mixed messages to the merchant attendees. The central themes of the meeting were collaboration and transparency; a particular focus was Visa’s stated desire to collaborate with merchants.
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  • Letter from the CEO

    February 22, 2013-As we approach another milestone in the brief history of the MAG, it's worth reminding ourselves of the MAG's central purpose. The MAG is about cooperation and collaboration. My message today focuses on one of the most important keys to progress for payments. -
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  • Letter from the Chairman

    February 22, 2013-On behalf of the Board, I want to express appreciation to our sponsors. Their ongoing support has allowed MAG to upgrade the quality and content of its annual conferences while expanding its services to the membership
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  • MAG Payments Roadmap Update

    January 30, 2013-The MAG is updating its U.S. payment roadmap clarifying its position on debit routing and reinforcing its support for a common set of standards and market-motivating rule changes to effectively deter e-commerce fraud.
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  • New MAG Member Benefit

    November 4, 2012-MAG members now have access to Digital Transactions Online Magazine
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  • 2012 Annual Conference Sessions Posted

    October 22, 2012-MAG members can now access the 2012 Conference presentations located under Member Resources in the Members Only area of the website. You must log-in to view.
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