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MAG Board Corner: Behind the Scenes (MAG Quarterly- Volume Six, Issue Two)

By Dee O'Malley, Vice President, Financial Services, Best Buy

June 7, 2018

Twice a year, the MAG merchant members, sponsors, and various payment stakeholders get together at the Mid-Year and Annual MAG conferences to participate in a vast number of payment topics spread throughout a multi-day agenda.  There are many different sessions on the agenda to pick from, whether it be a payments education session, a legal update, or a panel on that important topic for which members are seeking answers.  MAG brings payment stakeholders together to fulfill its vison - “Driving positive change in the payments industry through collaboration and advocacy of merchant’s interests.”  

The general sessions are not the only place where there is a strong drive for change and industry collaboration.  In addition to the posted agenda, there are several meetings held by the MAG Board with various stakeholders.  These meetings not only ensure that the organization is continuing to bring others along in the journey of the MAG vision but also ensures that stakeholders understand and address the most pressing needs of the merchant community.   These meetings have helped give merchants a “seat at the table” in an increasingly relevant way.  

The voice of the MAG, with the support of its Board and its Members, continues to grow stronger each passing year as does the engagement of the various stakeholders.  It is amazing to see how these meetings have evolved over time.  With the positive progress that has occurred in the last few years, I am excited to think about what these meetings will accomplish in the years to come. 

The following is a snapshot of the various stakeholder sessions that took place at this year’s Mid-Year conference:

Network Meetings
:  The MAG Board has individual sessions with the major networks multiple times a year including Mid-Year.  This past meeting included members from the Brand Operations and Digital Commerce workgroups which allowed for perspectives from committees with very specific agendas.   In addition, the meeting was used to review network specific progress against the MAG roadmap. 

Debit Network Meeting
:  Mid- year was the first time we brought together our debit Network sponsors.  The meeting was a great way to discuss various topics relevant to the debit networks and give them the ability to hear merchant’s unique perspectives by vertical.   It also allowed the debit networks and merchants to collaborate on EMV issues.  

Acquirer Processor Meeting
:  The MAG Board has had a very close relationship with the acquirer stakeholder group as they are the merchant’s representatives to the brands and often to other stakeholders in industry as well.  It is a very collaborative session for us to align on the most important topics in which they can advocate on the Merchants behalf as well as how the merchant community can help them to be successful in this endeavor.   

ICC/DCC Meeting
:  Although not a board specific meeting, International/Dynamic Currency Conversion hot topic meetings have been occurring at each conference over the last several years.   It is an opportunity for merchants, processors, and networks to be in the room to discuss current landscape, lessons learned, and best practices.  The meeting is open not only to DCC participating merchants but also for those considering DCC.  This allows an opportunity to listen to other merchants that have deployed and understand how it works and what to expect from not only merchant experience but customer experience as well.