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Competition And Pricing In The Credit Card Market

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  • Victor Stango

Abstract

Many credit card issuers charge "fixed rates" that remain the same for three to five years, while the rest charge "variable rates" that are indexed to market rates. The presence of these two distinct rate types forces prices at firms selling an otherwise identical product to move asynchronously; variable rates move one-for-one with the index, while fixed rates stay constant. Empirical and theoretical analysis shows that this pricing structure provides an explanation for the simultaneous (yet seemingly contradictory) existence of high rate-cost margins and aggressive non-price competition for new customers, a phenomenon that existed in the credit card market in the early 1990s. © 2000 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 82 (2000)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 499-508

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:82:y:2000:i:3:p:499-508

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Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/

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Cited by:
  1. Gordon H. Sellon, Jr., 2002. "The changing U.S. financial system : some implications for the monetary transmission mechanism," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q I, pages 5-35.
  2. Sangkyun Park, 2004. "Consumer rationality and credit card pricing: An explanation based on the option value of credit lines," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(5), pages 243-254.
  3. Heng Chen & Marie-Hélène Felt & Kim Huynh, 2014. "Retail Payment Innovations and Cash Usage: Accounting for Attrition Using Refreshment Samples," Working Papers 14-27, Bank of Canada.
  4. Calem, Paul S. & Gordy, Michael B. & Mester, Loretta J., 2006. "Switching costs and adverse selection in the market for credit cards: New evidence," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1653-1685, June.
  5. Scholnick, Barry & Massoud, Nadia & Saunders, Anthony & Carbo-Valverde, Santiago & Rodríguez-Fernández, Francisco, 2008. "The economics of credit cards, debit cards and ATMs: A survey and some new evidence," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1468-1483, August.
  6. G. Gülsün Akın & Ahmet Faruk Aysan & Gazi Ishak Kara & Levent Yildiran, 2009. "Non-Price Competition in Credit Card Markets: Evidence from an Emerging Economy," 2009 Meeting Papers 2, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Chatterji, Aaron K. & Seamans, Robert C., 2012. "Entrepreneurial finance, credit cards, and race," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 182-195.
  8. Mitchell Berlin & Loretta J. Mester, 1987. "Credit card rates and consumer search," Working Papers 88-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  9. Victor Stango, 2002. "Strategic responses to regulatory threat in the credit card market," Working Paper Series WP-02-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  10. Song Han & Benjamin J. Keys & Geng Li, 2011. "Credit supply to personal bankruptcy filers: evidence from credit card mailings," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-29, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Ben Fung & Kim Huynh & Leonard Sabetti, 2012. "The Impact of Retail Payment Innovations on Cash Usage," Working Papers 12-14, Bank of Canada.
  12. Brian Mantel & Timothy McHugh, 2001. "Competition and innovation in the consumer e-payments market? considering the demand, supply, and public policy issues," Occasional Paper; Emerging Payments EPS-2001-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  13. Akin, Guzin Gulsun & Aysan, Ahmet Faruk & Kara, Gazi Ishak & Yildiran, Levent, 2008. "Non-price competition in credit card markets through bundling and bank level benefits," MPRA Paper 17768, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Massoud, Nadia & Saunders, Anthony & Scholnick, Barry, 2011. "The cost of being late? The case of credit card penalty fees," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 49-59, June.
  15. Kevin Amess & Leigh Drake & Helen Knight, 2010. "An Empirical Analysis of UK Credit Card Pricing," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 101-117, September.
  16. Marc Rysman, 2006. "An Empirical Analysis of Payment Card Usage," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2006-002, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  17. Scholnick, Barry & Massoud, Nadia & Saunders, Anthony, 2013. "The impact of wealth on financial mistakes: Evidence from credit card non-payment," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 26-37.
  18. Abbas Valadkhani & Sajid Anwar & Amir Arjonandi, 2012. "How to capture the full extent of price stickiness in credit card interest rates?," Economics Working Papers wp12-02, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.

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