MAG Insights

Announcements from the MAG & Featured Articles

MAG Member Corner: MAG Has Come a Long Way (MAG Quarterly- Volume Three, Issue Three)

By Kathy Hanna, Director, Enterprise Payments & Store Support, The Kroger Co.

September 3, 2015

Over the years, I had heard of “MAG” through a couple of my peers at other merchants who talked about how this group of payment industry business leaders that met and talked about issues that affected all merchants but that was the limit to my knowledge.  In 2009 I attended my first MAG meeting in a small conference room at a hotel in Dallas, Texas.  There were maybe 25 people there representing a few merchants, a couple of acquirers and a couple of networks.  I remember sitting at a table in the back, watching and listening to the conversation.  The topics were relevant to the issues in the market at that time and I was very happy to find people who spoke “payments language” as I did!  The agenda that day was short but concise.  What I learned was that MAG was created by one of the largest merchant acquirers and the merchants they serviced with two goals: one, to create events for merchants to come together and share best practices on topics affecting all; two, to provide an avenue for direct feedback to the card brands on issues. 

Fast forward five years and MAG now has over 90 merchant company members and still growing!   MAG has become a “who’s who” in the payment industry.   Not only are there merchants from every industry represented within MAG, but every size of merchant participates.  In addition, acquirers, card brands, debit networks, payment service providers and the list goes on and on of the organizations that support and attend MAG conferences, more than forty companies. 

So what enabled MAG to set itself apart from other avenues merchants have to voice their opinions and ideas on issues in the payment industry?  In my opinion it is simple…it is the name, merchants.  Led and guided by merchants, who are key participants in the payments ecosystem, the name, Merchant Advisory Group, sets the tone for merchant participation.   So many of the issues and challenges that happen in the payments industry do not occur in other industries making the payments industry one of the most interesting and challenging areas of business within a company.  MAG is so many things, including a training academy for new entrants into the payments industry; a repository of information for activities and actions in the payments industry and a place to share and learn best practices.  At the meetings, a merchant is given the opportunity to have one-to-one conversations with card brands or service providers to solve a problem or learn of opportunities.  At the same time all this is going on, MAG keeps an eye on the future and works to help shape the payment landscape across all channels of commerce.

MAG has developed into a true one stop shop for payment industry business players.  Way to go MAG…you’ve come a long way!