The MAG 2018 Mid-Year Conference Provided Timely Education and Broke Records!

The MAG 2018 Mid-Year Conference held February 28 - March 2 at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix Downtown drew record attendance with 446 attendees. Presentations accessible to all attendees, can be found here. Education presentations and the Merchant-Only polling results are available in the Member Only area of the website. You must login to view. Once logged in, click on “Use Our Resources,” “Member Resources,” “2018 Mid-Year Conference Presentations and Polling Results.”

As an added benefit to MAG members we will provide a conference summary as well as the SIG reports for your internal use and this will be available in the coming weeks. The MAG produces the conference summary to provide insight to what MAG members are talking about, what they are advocating for and what information you will be able to bring back to your organization.

Visit the MAG website to view the 2018 Mid-Year Conference final attendee list, presentations, program and sponsors.

An Alternate Payments Paradigm
By Mark Horwedel, CEO, Merchant Advisory Group

In recent years, the MAG has sought to channel merchant complaints and concerns by developing a list of recommendations for changes that would make U.S. card payments more equitable to merchants. On a few occasions, this effort has succeeded, as with the recent move to rid merchants of the requirement to capture signatures at the point of sale. Read the Full Article

Evolution in Payments & Commerce
By Laura Townsend, SVP, Operations, Merchant Advisory Group

“People ask, 'What's the best role you've ever played?'
The next one.”
- Kevin Kline
2017 claimed a significant milestone in the evolution of payments. The public admission of signature as a meaningless authentication method could be a strong signal the payments model of the past half a century is ready to move on. So, what's next? Where do we go from here? What else is brewing and how is MAG working to foster positive progression? Read the Full Article

Change is Afoot
By Beth Provenzano, VP Public Affairs, Merchant Advisory Group

The Fed has a new Chairman, and Mulvaney is Acting Director of the CFPB. The mid-term elections will be here before we know it. 2018 will be a year to watch in Washington. Read the Full Article

Where Policy Intersects Payments
By Kathy Hanna, Sr. Director, Enterprise Payments & Store Support Enterprise Payments Dept., The Kroger Co.

At the MAG annual conference last fall the distinguished panel (Kim Ford - SVP Government Affairs, First Data; Doug Kantor - Partner, Steptoe Johnson Government Affairs/Public Policy; Barrie VanBrackle - Partner, Orrick; and Hannah Walker - Sr. Director Technology and Nutrition Policy, FMI) spoke about the many various changes through public policy and regulation that are impacting payments in the U.S. and abroad. Read the Full Article

From Vision to Action - MAG is Celebrating 10 Years of Making Change Happen
By Kari Hartley, Director of Member & Administrative Services, Merchant Advisory Group

The Merchant Advisory Group (MAG) welcomes new members and sponsors: since December, Academy Sports, Aramark, AutoZone, Bloomin' Brands, Fareway Foods, Floor and Décor Outlets of America, Inc., MGM Resorts International and Square joined as members; Verifi and Fortiva Retail Credit joined as silver sponsors.

As we begin the MAG's 10th year we invite all members to celebrate the foresight of our founding visionary members who decided we needed an organization focused on educating and advocating for merchants across the U.S. and eventually the globe. Read the Full Article

There is no "I" in "Payments"
By Gina Powers, Assistant Treasurer, Dunkin' Brands, Inc. and the Dunkin' Brands Team

Collaboration is key in creating - and maintaining - a payments strategy that provides a seamless customer experience, increased efficiency and cost savings. Read the Full Article

Moving the Needle Through Collaboration: Introducing the Operations Quarterly Update
By Laura Townsend, SVP, Operations, Merchant Advisory Group

In 2017 the Operations Committee was formed with the objectives to identify, prioritize, and execute strategies to improve payments operational challenges that are most relevant to MAG merchant members. Read the Full Article

The MAG publishes many whitepapers and press releases in the MAG Insights section of the website homepage. Make sure to visit the website often to view these important announcements.

MAG Educational Webinars

Mark your calendars for March 28th when the MAG will present a MAG Webinar: New and Emerging Payment Trends - What's Important to the Merchant Community?

Trends in payment technologies including mobile, contactless, and P2P are evolving to deliver new customer experiences and value-added services. How are retailers taking advantage of these opportunities? What are the risks and challenges to be considered? What stakeholders are engaging in these new technologies and trends and in what capacity?

New payment modes come with different rules and routing options and pricing. What should merchants be on the alert for?

Merger and aquisition activity in the payment industry remains quite active but what does it all mean? Are there implications for retailers that should suggest a watchful eye? How is Fintech engaging with payments industry stakeholders and what opportunities exist for retailers to engage in order to drive the future of their business?

During this webinar, you will hear from subject matter experts in payments regarding their perspectives on these new and emerging trends that will have an impact on the retailer community.

Register Today!

Check the MAG website for upcoming webinars in 2018.

Smartphone Use in Asia - A Catalyst for Moving From Cash to Digital Payments Around the World
By Dan Skaling, Executive Vice President, JCBUSA

More than a thousand years have passed since paper bills were first used in China, and in many Asian countries, cash is still king. Read the Full Article

Get Ahead of the Contactless Transaction Curve with Real-Time Visibility
By Kevin Johnson, Payments Performance Specialist, IR

As technology evolves and contactless payments take a bigger share of US transactions, how can you as a merchant get a better handle on new transaction types and devices that are set to take over your traditional payments methods? Read the Full Article

Enabling Secure PIN Debit for eCommerce via Credit Push
By Scott Moeller, CEO and Jacqueline Snell, VP of Strategic Initiatives, mSHIFT Inc.

According to Federal Reserve statistics, in 2015 more than twenty billion PIN debit transactions worth $800 Billion were performed in the United States. However, these relatively inexpensive PIN debit transactions have been nonexistent for Online and In-App purchases due to the inherent security risks of using debit cards online.

Multi-Factor eCommerce Debit Transactions are now viable. Emerging mobile and digital payment technology combined with direct bank core integration makes it possible for merchants to accept low cost, real-time PIN debit payments through a guaranteed good funds model. This system eliminates the vast majority of fraud, data breaches and chargebacks. Read the Full Article

The MAG is On The Road
MAG CEO, Mark Horwedel, Laura Townsend, SVP of Operations and Beth Provenzano, VP Public Affairs have been representing the MAG at many industry events over the last several months. Some future events on the horizon include:
  • Mark Horwedel
    • May 15, 2018: CNP Expo; Orlando, FL
    • June 4-6, 2018: Money 20/20; Amsterdam
    • June 18-20, 2018: VISA Payments Forum; Washington DC
  • Laura Townsend
    • April 17, 2018: ETA Transact; Las Vegas, NV
    • April 24, 2018: MPIW; Boston, MA
    • May 21, 2018: National Restaurant Association; Chicago, IL
    • June 20-21, 2018: EMVCo; San Diego, CA
    • July 11, 2018: US Payments Forum; San Francisco, CA
  • Beth Provenzano
    • March 26-29, 2018: US Payments Forum; Chicago, IL

SILVER Sponsor

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SILVER Sponsor

Verifi is a leading, global provider of end-to-end payment protection, fraud prevention, and chargeback management services. We build reseller partnerships and work directly with companies, ranging from startups to Fortune 500 enterprises in a wide range of industries, to provide innovative payments solutions that protect revenue and help maximize profits. Verifi processes more than $10 billion in transactions annually and currently serves over 30,000 accounts globally. For information, visit:

View a complete listing of MAG Sponsors

Sponsor Press Releases

Questions or comments? Contact the MAG at

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