MAG Insights

Announcements from the MAG & Featured Articles

MAG Member Corner: Member Perspective (MAG Quarterly- Volume Four, Issue Two)

By Jim Esposito, Vice President of Treasury, Payments & Risk, Etsy Inc.

June 2, 2016

My adventure with the MAG originally started in late 2008 when I was running Payments Operations at SUBWAY Restaurants.  I had received a phone call from MAG original - Dodd Roberts - who asked if SUBWAY was interested in joining a boot strapped industry association comprised of merchants who ran sizeable payments operations.  At the time, SUBWAY was only two years deep in rolling out our streamlined payments solution to all 30,000+ franchise locations in North America.  Our team was really just starting to wrap our heads around scaling SUBWAY’s payments operations both domestically and abroad.  So, the invitation to learn from the likes of other large scale merchants was fortuitously welcomed.  What wasn’t as apparent at that time was how the MAG would burgeon into an influential, merchant-focused association in the payments industry.

A few salient thoughts come to mind as I reflect on the MAG’s past and present.  First, the MAG’s membership is comprised of an ever growing, impressive roster of merchants from all industries and verticals.  Whether you’re a payments neophyte in technology or grand expert in retail, there’s a great deal of merchant centric payments knowledge that can be easily tapped through the MAG’s congenial roster of member merchants.  It’s a breath of fresh air to seek and openly receive knowledge from fellow merchants who have relatable experiences.  I’ve often said that the membership expense covers itself in your first merchant conversation.  Secondly, the MAG has done a remarkable job of developing valuable content and analysis on our industry.  As a former MAG Board Member, I recall the initial stages of developing out the MAG’s online presence with a big focus on developing membership content.  It’s exciting to see that the MAG has stayed true to that early commitment that has resulted in a robust Resources Center, which is a valuable source of technical and industry developments for any payments team.  Lastly, MAG members operate in an industry that is heavily influenced and designed by financial institutions and networks.  Merchants are invited and permitted to operate in this “payments sandbox” regulated by network, banking and governmental rules.  As recent as ten years ago, there were few industry outlets for merchants to voice even moderate concerns about the state of the payments business.   The MAG has done an admirable job of coalescing seemingly disparate merchants into a consistent, clear and formidable voice to highlight industry pains and influence the future of payments.

To my great satisfaction, Etsy joined the Merchant Advisory Group earlier this year to benefit from some of these clear strengths as well as participate in facing the challenges of our industry alongside of peers.  As a worldwide marketplace where people around the world connect, both online and offline, to make, sell and buy unique goods, Etsy has a lot to gain and offer as a member of the Merchant Advisory Group.  We are excited about joining fellow payments experts in the MAG and invite other technology companies with meaningful payments operations to consider the same.