Interview

A concise scan of the key payments and ecommerce trends and challenges – MRC Virtual Conference 2020 sneak peek

Thursday 1 October 2020 09:51 CET | Editor: Stefana Ivan | Interview

In this pre-event interview, Julie Fergerson, CEO at MRC, elaborates on key industry topics to be discussed during the first MRC Virtual Conference

The MRC Virtual conference is designed to deliver great content for forward-thinking fraud prevention and payments professionals, elaborating on relevant topics such as the payments and ecommerce trends which were accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges that merchants face during this time. The programme includes insightful keynote sessions, such as: a panel of seasoned EU regulators discussing SCA enforcement; a panel of industry leaders from Amazon, Microsoft, and Google; a keynote with Gary Warner, who will take the audience on a tour of the dark underworld of ecommerce cybercrime. Register here to join the virtual conference on 13-15 October 2020.

This year, MRC moved the conference online for the first time. In what ways have you reshaped the educational, networking, and exhibiting activities of an in-person event? Did any new opportunities arise from this different setting?  

Rather than trying to re-create our in-person event virtually, we took a step back and said: ‘what can we do with a virtual event to provide the same great networking, collaboration, and overall experience our members have come to expect from the MRC?’. Therefore, we concluded that the content must be interactive, with real-time Q&As during the sessions, something we couldn't do at an in-person event. The platform we chose will allow our members to see and connect with each other during the actual conference – and what is more, attendees get visibility of the entire conference, not just the room they are in.

2020 is already shaping up to be an unprecedented year for merchants. What did MRC do to support them during the pandemic? 

We focused on providing educational content, on hosting our community get-togethers where our members could connect and talk about scaling their platforms to support the increased demand, on offering advice on how to keep the peak – particularly on how to work on strategies to keep all these new online customers after the pandemic is over. Additionally, we organised lots of webinars, started conversations, and shared information on fraud trends that emerged or became more visible due to the global pandemic.

What specific fraud and payment challenges have your members faced during the pandemic? 

Increased volumes create many more orders to investigate – and the volumes have been similar to those existent during the Christmas holidays or even larger. Consequently, ensuring that the companies are able to handle the volume is probably one of the biggest challenges. As with any economic downturn, fraud attack volumes increased in this period. Luckily, with the tools merchants have in place, overall, the industry has been able to keep things under control.

For instance, Visa and Mastercard have continued to roll out mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic, and merchants have focused on scaling and keeping up with fraud. Therefore, we have partnered with the card networks and hosted webinars regarding these changes to help merchants quickly understand them, and we advocated with the card networks for extensions and exceptions when it has made sense.

Furthermore, we noticed a rise in popularity when it comes to certain trends:

  • transitioning from in-office to remote work has caused some challenges, especially for those that work with PII;

  • the acceleration of digital payments and curbside delivery – pretty much every merchant on the planet switched overnight to CNP/ecommerce payments;

  • a greater investment in tools automation for merchants, as they scaled.

Additionally, merchants who conduct business in Europe are concerned about another big challenge: the SCA deadline. Between the pandemic and the increased volumes, the industry has not focused enough on getting ready for SCA – and the compliance deadline is 31 December 2020.  Many countries are simply not ready, and consumers will have a bad experience. MRC is actively working with regulators, the NCAs specifically, to show merchant dashboards and work together to adjust the deadlines.

About Julie Fergerson

Julie Fergerson, the newly appointed CEO, has 25+ years of experience in developing, delivering, and promoting Internet-based technologies. She generates collaborations around industry problems and is enthusiastic about new technologies. Julie has a proven track record of bringing key stakeholders together to solve major problems and positioning existing technology to meet the needs of the audience, without changing fundamental value, proving to be a resourceful problem solver.


About Merchant Risk Council

The MRC is a global membership organisation connecting ecommerce fraud and payments professionals through educational programmes, online forums, career development, conferences, and networking events. As a non-profit organisation, the MRC encompasses a membership network of over 500 companies, all focused on fraud prevention, payments optimisation, and risk management. The MRC is headquartered in Seattle, Washington.


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Keywords: Julie Fergerson, MRC, MRC Virtual Conference, ecommerce, fraud prevention, COVID-19, merchants, card networks, digital payments, CNP, ecommerce payments, SCA, Visa, Mastercard
Categories: Payments & Commerce | Ecommerce
Countries: World
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce