Nearly 700 payment professionals are expected to attend the Midwest Acquirers Association's Taking It To The Streets conference being held July 14 to 16, 2015, at the historic Palmer House Hotel in Chicago's central business district, the Loop. A performance by The Bluez Brothers tribute band will set the stage for the hosted Sweet Home Chicago party, as will other local flavors made famous – from Chicago-style pizza to "dragged through the garden," all-beef hot dogs.
Several new items are being added to enhance the conference experience. Discover Financial Services is sponsoring a new MWAA app, downloadable online, that features a built-in lead retrieval system; offers shows updates, maps and connectivity with other attendees both on and off the floor; and makes the Passport Challenge prize giveaway game digital for the first time. And Visa Inc. is providing Wi-Fi coverage throughout the conference hotel at no additional cost to attendees.
Also new the conference will be the Show-Off competition where sales pros deliver their best sales pitches to preselected merchant groups. "The merchant groups then get to rate the ISOs on how they did, what they liked and didn't like, and give a little feedback," said Mark Dunn, MWAA Treasurer and President of Field Guide Enterprises LLC. "I think it will be instructive for the salespeople in our midst."
Once again, contenders will spar off for the top innovation prize in The Shark Tank Innovation Program competition where four cash prizes will be awarded. Adding excitement to the competition is former ABC TV Shark Tank participant Pat Bates, who will share his experience from the show. In addition, the MWAA will present the Industry Achievement Award to an individual who has made significant contributions to the payments industry.
Dunn will once again present the Field Guide Seminar with a special focus on big data and payment security. Neil Jones, Director of Sales for Brighterion, will discuss how to spot payment fraud using data analytics. Billy Hubbard, Director of Channel Sales at Swipely Inc., will detail how merchants can use transaction data to identify trends. Mary Winingham, President of Mirror Consulting, will offer advice on how ISOs can implement big data as a solution.
During the seminar, Dunn will update attendees on the status of EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) in the United States and advise ISOs on how to approach this topic with merchants without resorting to scare tactics. He has also prepared a conference handout containing a number of EMV resources.
Representatives from Visa Inc., First Data Corp. and BluePay Processing Inc. will delve into payments issues and what the future portends. Payment consultant Deana Rich will lead a panel discussion on what measures ISOs can take to avoid regulatory scrutiny when boarding merchants, with presenters who have been through the experience firsthand. Connie Theien, Vice President of Industry Relations for the Federal Reserve Financial Services, will discuss effective strategies for improving the payments system.
To learn more about this year's MWAA conference, hotel and registration information, visit www.midwestacquirers.com.
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