MAG Insights

Announcements from the MAG & Featured Articles

Letter from the Outgoing Chair (MAG Quarterly- Volume Four, Issue Two)

By Lee Jurgens, Past MAG Chairman & CEO, Prociant

June 2, 2016

When one gets older you tend to look back at what you have accomplished, and one of the many things I look back at with pride is my involvement with the MAG.

My involvement started over 10 years ago when I was approached by Chase with the question of whether I was interested in participating and assist in forming a merchant driven organization that would focus on electronic payments. I agreed and with a couple of others, some who are still board members like Alok Mathur Senior Director, Revenue Management of Hughes Network Systems, LLC and Dee O’Malley, Senior Director, Best Buy, we started the Merchant Advisory Group. In the early days we only had a few members and I believe there was no membership fee. We wanted to grow because we believed that the power was in numbers but we were handicapped by the fact that Chase only allowed Chase merchants to be members.

After 2 years with Chase we decided to become independent. We locked ourselves in a conference room at Southwest Airlines’ corporate office at Love field in Dallas. After 1.5 days an independent, non - profit Merchant Advisory Group was created. Dodd Roberts, the former controller of Southwest Airlines, was the MAG’s first CEO and navigated us through some tumultuous years.

The MAG has grown over the years and has now over a hundred members accounting for almost two trillion in electronic payments. Dodd and I headed up the mobile commerce workgroup that eventually was the birthplace of MCX. Dodd left the MAG to head up MCX and we recruited Mark Horwedel to become the new CEO.

The electronic payment systems went through great changes in the last couple of years: Durbin, data breaches, and EMV.  The MAG has assisted members during these changes by giving best practice webinars and panel discussions at MAG conferences.

I’m now involved with another entity, Prociant, which was borne out of discussions at the MAG as a charge-back and retrieval solution built by merchants for merchants. There's still a lot for the MAG to do. I think the MAG should lead the fight against the unjustified DCC cross border penalty fee. It also has become evident that card brands are not aggressively fighting fraud.  Therefore, I think merchants should start building their own negative credit card database. It's also clear that the card brands don't police their own rules and regulations so I believe the MAG should help them. Prociant will work on standardizing, streamlining and simplifying chargebacks for merchants.

The MAG has come a long way but the there's still a lot that has to be done. Together we can and will make changes and the MAG can always count on me to help accomplish this.