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Evolution in Payments & Commerce: MAG Communities – How Can You Get Involved? (MAG Quarterly- Volume Seven, Issue Four)

Laura Townsend 2019 Headshot_small
By Laura Townsend, SVP Operations, Merchant Advisory Group

December 5, 2019 

Conversations at Annual Conference this past September in Scottsdale suggest our members are hungry to get more involved. MAG efforts over the past six months have become more focused on targeted merchant challenges and interests. What are your options?

As I had shared in the most recent quarterly MAG newsletter, we recently launched our newest Community of Practice (COP) on Debit Routing which is working to identify the current market challenges in the U.S. regarding merchant routing choice and specifically focused on steps to increase PIN-less usage. This community meets every other Friday from 12:00-1:00pm CT.

This is just one of the communities that have been formed in the past six months.  Currently, we have six communities that are active. Each community has a different purpose and focus which gives you an option to choose the topic that you may have the most passion about.  Otherwise, there may be a topic that resonates because your organization is experiencing implications for which increased efforts and engagement as a merchant community could build momentum in finding alternative solutions.  In addition to the community on Debit Routing, we have the following communities for you to consider.

Expanded BIN. The objective of this COP is to evaluate the merchant impact due to the 8-digit BIN expansion coming in 2023.  This community meets every third Thursday from 3:00-4:00pm CT.  The efforts have included engagement from our acquiring partners to evaluate the approach each global U.S. payment network and its issuers are planning for the implementation of expanded BINs.  Upon conclusion, a checklist of considerations and best practices will be made available to membership for consideration as each merchant plans the steps necessary to support an expanded BIN. Every merchant will have different implications depending on internal payments systems and their inter-relationship across platforms as well as the acquirer relationship alongside their ability to support these changes.

Card on File. Sometimes referred to as credential on file, this community was established to evaluate the new programs introduced by payment networks with regards to rules, required practices, timelines, and implications to merchants in management of their recurring customer profile programs.  This community meets every other Tuesday from 3:00-4:00pm CT.  A program comparison will be developed as a tool for merchants and best practices for consideration will be published for consumption.  As all merchants offer digital programs to its customers anymore to remain relevant and simplification of the customer experience is of the utmost importance, efforts to retain customer profiles with payment preferences becomes more and more important.  These new network requirements offer some complexities that can impact the customer experience and disclosure requirements.  How do these requirements impact recurring transactions, phone orders, contact center practices, and more?  Join to help us evaluate the answers and share knowledge with others.

EMVCo. The community focused on EMVCo efforts and implementations of its specifications is currently focused on Secure Remote Commerce (SRC).  The meeting frequency has been every Wednesday from 3:00-4:00pm CT for the past year.  This includes monthly engagement with EMVCo and the major global networks which has helped MAG influence change in the specification as well as its implementation approach.  We also experienced the opportunity to engage with the industry earlier in the process of bringing a new payment product to market in order to understand the value proposition and implications merchants should consider in making decisions to deploy. Currently, the community is working to evaluate the SRCi options available for merchants considering implementation of SRC.  The objective is to publish a guide of SRCi considerations in order to help merchants make better educated decisions impacting their digital platforms and customer experiences.

Petro Fraud. In light of the EMV liability shift coming October 2020 for automated fuel dispenser, this community kicked off efforts to identify strategies for preparation. Initially, this included an evaluation of the excessive fraud monitoring programs implemented by some of the payment networks. Working in conjunction with industry stakeholders, this community expects to influence education and awareness of the potential impact of the EMV liability shift, drive change in EMV certification practices, and partner in development of best practices for the petroleum merchant community in its transition to EMV chip acceptance at the pump.  We meet every third Monday from 3:00-4:00pm CT.

Cryptocurrency. This community was established with the purpose to examine existing and emerging companies, processes and methods relevant to the use of blockchain technology in payments-related activities.  The objective is to provide pertinent educational material for the MAG membership’s consumption, exchange ideas and perspectives among MAG and other industry participants involved.  We meet the second Wednesday of the month from 10:00-11:00am CT.

These communities also offer the opportunity for you to gain exposure to challenges in the industry you may not be as familiar that could have implications to your organization for which you may not be aware.  In addition, participation in these communities not only provides you with exposure personally to other leaders in the industry but also position you and your company as leaders with influence in the industry which brings mutual value to both the MAG and your organization.

Please contact Laura Townsend or Eric O’Brien if you have a passion for any of these topics and availability to dedicate some time to participate in our recurring community calls and efforts in between. Also, please reach out if you have any suggestions for future community efforts regarding an industry topic that is compelling which you and other merchants feel are relevant for MAG to engage. A community must have a defined objective(s) that when achieved will signify success. In addition, there needs to be a level of commitment by membership to help lead any new community effort as well as seek engagement from other members that share in a common objective.