And I get paid to do this?

And I get paid to do this?
Steve Cole Director, Tech Engagement Merchant Advisory Group
Mar 22, 2022

Having just wrapped up 2022 Mid-Year Conference and Tech Forum and participating in my first conference from ‘behind the curtain,’ I couldn’t help but be amazed by the energy of the attendees and the enthusiasm of the MAG staff. It was obvious to me our members appreciate the value the MAG provides, and our sponsors value the opportunity to engage with the merchant community. The future of the MAG is certainly bright, and I feel fortunate to now be part of that future and the great MAG team.

While many of you know me from my prior role in the payments ecosystem, I have not had the privilege of meeting many others so I will introduce myself through this article. I have worked in the payments industry for over 17 years now with almost all that time being with FIS…and Worldpay before that…and Vantiv before that…and, well, you get the picture. I started in project management working on process improvement projects but moved over to the product side just before that little three-letter acronym ‘EMV’ came to dominate the lives of so many of us. Throughout the next several years, I worked with our merchant community helping them to better understand, implement, and certify EMV. Through that role, I became engaged with organizations such as the US Payments Forum (EMV Migration Forum for those of you who still bear those scars), EMVCo, and even the MAG. The EMV migration experience and the interactions through those organizations provided me with a perspective of the industry that I could never have imagined prior, and I will always be grateful for that. As EMV became more business as usual, I moved back into a more “traditional” product management role building and enhancing payment products. 

While that work was immensely satisfying, the opportunity to join the MAG and work with our merchant members and our sponsors to educate the payments community on technical topics and advocate for merchants’ interests in the payments ecosystem was truly an offer I could not refuse. I look forward to collaborating with all of you as we work together to create a smoother, safer, and more equitable payments experience for our members, your customers, and the merchant community at large.

The Merchant Advisory Group

Driving positive change and innovation in the payments industry that serves the merchants interest through collaboration, education, and advocacy.