MAG Insights

Announcements from the MAG & Featured Articles

Evolution in Payments & Commerce (MAG Quarterly- Volume Five, Issue One)

By Laura Townsend, Senior Vice President of Operations, Merchant Advisory Group

March 2, 2017

As the MAG matures and its scope expands to achieve its continued mission of driving positive change in the payments industry, we have added staff to support that growth.  However, in order to accomplish its objectives, it is imperative that we engage subject matter experts among our membership to execute on goals that are most relevant to merchants as we deliver on that mission.  Join me as part of a call to action to improve operational challenges that inhibit the successful progression of payments and commerce.

At the beginning of 2017 I joined the MAG to lead our operational initiatives with responsibility to identify, prioritize, and execute strategies to improve payments operational challenges relevant to merchant members.  In order to deliver on this expectation, it is imperative to have active support and participation from subject matter experts in the merchant community that deal with these ongoing operational challenges on a daily basis. Whether it be challenges related to fraud mitigation efforts, chargeback processes, network rules, proprietary technologies vs. standards, payments technology certification requirements, authentication strategies, debit routing services and solutions, equitable liability and risk, adequate data security, transparency in costs, or parity among the commerce channels, a collective effort will be the most successful. In addition, collaboration with our sponsor stakeholders will be critical to our collective success.  

The MAG is introducing a new merchant member Operations Committee to foster positive progress across many of these critical challenges. If you or someone within your merchant organization would be interested in participating, please reach out to me at Expertise and/or technical skills in payment operations and strong relationships your organization may have with your payment service providers will be extremely valuable to this Operations Committee. The time commitment will completely depend on each of you but we expect to have monthly meetings at a minimum to define, track, and execute our plan and related progress. We are looking to gain participation across multiple merchant verticals since there are share challenges in some instances but unique challenges specific to a merchant vertical in other instances. As you reach out to me, feel free to share the subject matter expertise, technical or operational skills, and/or strategic relationships you and/or your colleagues will bring to the table so we are best equipped to fill any gaps. By all means, share what you are most passionate about as well. Passion from one can complement skill from another to achieve a most brilliant outcome.

I look forward to making meaningful progress together.

The Merchant Advisory Group, the MAG, is pleased to announce Laura Townsend has joined the MAG staff in the newly created role of Sr. Vice President of Operations. Laura brings to the MAG her considerable experience in payments and Treasury services while at one of the largest global companies.
Laura is a wonderful addition to the MAG staff. Her background and experience will enable us to deliver an ever- increasing value proposition to the membership given her leadership skills, operational expertise and her recent efforts on omni-channel experiences. 
Formerly, Laura led corporate cash, consumer payment, and global digital product management initiatives including emerging innovative consumer experience opportunities at McDonald's Corporation most recently as the Senior Director, Global Cashless & Digital Products. In addition, Laura has held various leadership roles on external industry boards and special interest groups with the objective to drive positive change in payments through multi-stakeholder collaboration and education.