MAG Insights

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Letter from the CEO


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. Merchants began to hear steady assurances from other payments’ stakeholders that merchants must be included in future decision-making.

MAG members are waiting for the invitations to roll-in to sit at the table with issuers and payment networks in a review of the existing rules. Members are waiting impatiently for their voting seats at the PCI table. We could go on and on.

It is certainly encouraging to hear the networks talk about their interest in working with the merchant community. Today, the need for collaborative action is greater than ever given the pace of developments in mobile, prepaid, regulation, EMV and global interoperability. It is incumbent upon the MAG to seize the opportunity to work with the bank networks to organize and influence how and when the changes we have long sought on behalf of the merchant community are rolled out. Our primary mission of collaboration will be tested by the magnitude of the effort we put forth and their response to our efforts.

It’s high time to start a real dialogue on how we can work together to improve the payment system. The past is behind us and a new dawn is before us. Merchants aren’t satisfied that tomorrow will be a repeat of today and days past. Let’s get on with the work before us.

Thanks to both our members and our sponsors for their continued support. Please let us know your suggestions and how we can serve you better.

Mark Horwedel, CEO, Merchant Advisory Group