On a professional level, MAG has seen a significant amount of
engagement this year despite all the circumstances many of our members have
experienced challenging their personal and professional lives. The number of active members who participate
in Committees and Communities of Practice (COPs or Communities) while also
supporting the basic needs of both family at home and work focused on keeping
operations running and key stakeholders safe (family, customers, employees, and
self) has been impressive.
That continued engagement certainly kept MAG priorities moving
forward in a year full of change and uncertainly and we thank all our members
and sponsors for that. I will share a few highlights of MAG’s community efforts which are
still active, as well as those that have emerged, paused, and retired. This will give you a glimpse of the sheer
volume of activity that has had such significant influence on MAG’s progress
A new Community that began this year was the Downgrades COP
focused on increased transparency from networks on qualification criteria and guidance
from acquirers on leveraging more meaningful data to assist merchants in
reducing downgrades and integrity fees.
Soon we hope to unveil a Best Practice Guide to share learnings with the
broader MAG membership.
A few communities that have emerged - in light of the environment
2020 has gifted us - include installment payments, call center best practices
The Installment Payments COP is focused on evaluating the
industry and identifying primary installment providers, the various models, and
capabilities. The market penetration of
installment solutions - otherwise known as “buy now, pay later” alternatives - has
increased significantly on a global basis. According to Forrester Research,
more than one-quarter of retailers offer installment payments with more than 40
percent of online consumers aware that installment payments exist to purchase
goods. Merchants need to understand the options and implications of supporting
this type of alternative payment as part of an overall payments strategy. This community has been stood up to help
educate and inform the MAG membership as a starting point.
The Call Center Best Practices COP came about in light of
merchants needing to support customer call centers remotely as a result of
companies respecting employee safety and social distancing mandates across the
country. In light of these changes, managing payments security and compliance
has become an area of focus to ensure there are appropriate practices and
awareness of technologies in market that may facilitate those best
The Omni-channel Community is focused on collaboration among
merchants, payment networks, and acquirers to enable relevant and current commerce
practices with supporting rules and relevant, modern, and effective tools. Just think of all the ways consumers shop and
the massive convergence of physical and digital in light of 2020 events that
makes the focus of this COP so important for the long-term. Cross-channel commerce today is not supported
by modern rules and processes to enable the best customer experience and most efficient
One of MAG’s ongoing priorities will be merchant debit routing rights. In 2020, the Debit Routing COP accomplished a significant amount of education and awareness among all stakeholders including merchants, acquirers, issuers, and regulatory agencies. Here is a quick hit of all the accomplishments to date.
- Several PIN-less and Contactless webinars with focus on debit routing
- An Education Session at MAG’s 2020 Mid-Year Conference on debit routing
- A Best Practice Guide on debit routing
- An Infographic on contactless and debit routing considerations
- A panel session on PIN-less at MAG’s 2020 Virtual Annual Conference
- Media, Hill and Regulatory meetings during 2020
We are taking a pause for now and plan to re-convene to see if our efforts warrant continuing as a community through 2021 and, if so, in what capacity.
Another major focus in 2020 was the EMV migration for the
petroleum merchant community in light of the liability shift that was
originally targeted for October 2020. As
many of you know, with MAG’s influence (alongside our trade partner NACS with
data supplied from our standards partner, Conexxus), networks delayed the October
2020 liability shift until April 2021.
In light of that delay, the Petro COP decided to take a pause to
allow fuel merchants to focus on EMV migration in order to meet the
deadline. In our closing efforts for
2020, MAG developed an infographic on the Road to EMV to emphasize the importance of migrating sooner versus later
and the considerations along the way.
This Community will re-convene in the new year as the final efforts on
As you can see there was a significant amount of activity and accomplishments achieved through these communities this year with your active participation and input. We hope to continue the influence these communities have in the future.
So, how do you get involved?
If you would like to join an existing community, or if you are interested in starting a new Community of Practice, click on the image below to access the MAG’s NEW COP landing page and learn more about how you can get involved today!
The following are required to form a new COP:
- The issue has defined objective(s) that when achieved will signify the end of the COP.
- Issue/opportunity impacts several merchants or is a relatively common problem shared by others.
You are a merchant who is willing to help lead the effort and get others engaged.
MAG will resource administrative coordination required to get a Community kicked off. We understand the need for the
collective merchant voice which is much louder and more influential and effective than a single merchant alone. Come join the effort.
Contact the MAG today!