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The MAG as a Critical Resource in the Payments Space (MAG Quarterly- Volume Seven, Issue Four)

Love's logo
By Stewart Terbush, CPA, Director, Operations Accounting, Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores

December 5, 2019

Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores is family owned and operated and began in 1964 with a single gas station in Watonga, Oklahoma.  Over the last 55 years, Love’s has grown into one of the nation’s leading retailers of motor fuels and related products and services, operating 500 locations in 41 states.  Love’s joined the MAG in August of 2012.

Stewart Terbush, Director of Operations Accounting at Love’s considers the MAG to be a critical resource to drive success in the payments space.   We asked Stewart to share his insights on Love’s relationship with the MAG, and how that relationship creates value for all concerned.  Click here to read what Stewart and the team at Love’s has to say about their experiences with the MAG. 

Main Article
When we joined the MAG in 2012, we sort of thought we knew what we were doing in the payments space.  It didn’t take long to find out how little we really knew!  Seven years in, the payments space continues to evolve at an accelerated pace.  The MAG is a critical resource, helping us stay current in an ever-changing environment. 

It seems to me that above all, the MAG is about forging and maintaining relationships and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved.  At a bare minimum, everyone should be attending the annual and mid-year conferences.  These are your best chances to network with other payments professionals from a wide range of industries and experience levels.  Whether you’re a payments novice, or a seasoned professional, the learning sessions and open Q&A discussions offer something for everyone.  You’ll have no shortage of opportunities, and the relationships that you build can prove to be invaluable. 

Also, don’t forget the Special Interest Groups; a very valuable use of your time.  Kelly Andrus and Peter Jessiman do a great job leading the Petro SIG meetings at the annual and mid-year conferences, plus they are continually working in between to ensure members are kept current on a wide variety of issues.

As an example, our partnership with W. Capra Consulting Group started with a brief conversation one evening after the day’s MAG conference meetings.  Clint and Jim and the team at W. Capra are now among our closest advisers and some of the first people we call for insights into the payments space.

The historic and continued growth of the MAG is critical in one very important way, and that is the value of the MAG members speaking with one voice.  MAG member companies represent a significant slice of the American economy, measured in trillions of dollars.  When it comes to managing the overall cost of payments acceptance, that is a voice that cannot be ignored.  

A great example of this came about a few years ago when it became apparent that the Durbin Amendment was in danger of being repealed.  The MAG worked with the National Retail Federation and other trade groups to organize two days of educational sessions on Capitol Hill with members of Congress on this issue.  I’m very confident that the MAG’s influence played an important role in keeping Durbin in place.

And now, we have that opportunity again.  Speaking for myself personally, I believe that the current FedNow initiatives represent the single best opportunity to have a positive impact in the payments space that we are likely to see in a long time.  It is critical that we as merchants are heard as one voice, and the MAG is that voice.

I couldn’t in good conscience write this without special recognition for the MAG staff, especially those who produce the annual and mid-year conferences.  As I told Kari in September, we understand that events like these don’t just happen, and that there is a tremendous amount of work required to pull them off.  They do a fantastic job and are deserving of our sincere gratitude.
In closing, if you’re reading this, and you’re not a MAG member, what are you waiting for?  It’s a great investment of your time and resources.  And if you are a MAG member, be a recruiter!  There is strength in numbers, and you are the reason behind the success!