ETA's Voice of Payments fosters advocacy
#dcf_During the Electronic Transactions Association's 2010 Annual Meeting & Expo held in Las Vegas in April, the ETA launched a new website with the mission of strengthening its core member legislative advocacy program at both state and federal levels.
The Voice of Payments website, www.voiceofpayments.org, actively informs payment professionals, government officials and the media as to the potential effects of proposed legislative and regulatory actions on the payments industry.
"Normally when you launch a new program like this, there would be a big opening push to educate members about what the site can do and its intrinsic value," said Mary Bennett, ETA Director of Government & Industry Relations. "However, we did not have time to do that because almost immediately we had the Durbin Amendment surface in the Senate. Before we could properly introduce the site to everybody, we really had to activate it immediately."
Despite the lack of initial promotion, the website gained immediate popularity among payment professionals seeking information about the Durbin Amendment. For the first two months, The Voice of Payments focused almost entirely on notifying registered users about new developments in the proposed legislation. Throughout the process, the ETA encouraged the site's visitors to contact elected officials directly.
"A very essential part of government relations is to have members know what is going on in the legislative world, so they can contact their congressional representatives and voice their opinions. The site is designed to help members do exactly that," Bennett said. The new site is open to everybody. Even nonmembers can register for action alerts, which provide details on proposed legislation and regulations, next steps and the ETA's suggested actions.
"The Voice of Payments has helped organize and concentrate the voice of people in the electronic payments industry on a level that has not been done before," Bennett noted. "We represent a lot of people in a variety of businesses throughout the payments chain that until now didn't have a central resource for learning about what is happening in Congress. Now, with the click of a button, registered users can voice their opinion directly to members of Congress."
The website currently features a number of key issues, such as data security legislation, the newly created Consumer Protection Agency, and the progress of the IRS's proposed revisions to the 6050W Internal Revenue Code, which will change the method of reporting payment card transactions and are scheduled to go into effect in 2011. New content is being added to the website every day, including expanded coverage of state issues.
According to Bennett, who meets regularly with congressional staff in Washington, the new website has made members of Congress even more aware of issues pertaining to ETA members. "I definitely see a raised profile for ETA," she said.
To learn more about The Voice of Payments website, visit www.voiceofpayments.org.
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