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Payments are no free lunch

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  • Hans Brits
  • Carlo Winder
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    Abstract

    Total costs of the payments system to society are considerable. These costs can be higher or lower depending on the use of payment instruments that are less or more cost efficient. Empirical evidence is provided by a survey on the costs of POS payment instruments in the Netherlands. The overall costs involved in POS payments amount to 0.65% of gdp or, equivalently EUR 0.35 per transaction. The e-purse is most cost-efficient, irrespective of the size of a transaction, while if the choice is between cash and the debit card, the former is most economical for purchases below EUR 11.63 and the debit card is to be preferred for larges purchases. From a cost perspective, credit cards should not be used at all. The distorting effects caused by the use of public resources to finance the expenses made by central bank to maintain the cash circulation is found to be limited. It is argued that a less-cash society has better chances of success than a cashless one, at least in the medium term.

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    File URL: http://www.dnb.nl/en/binaries/Occstud32%20web_tcm47-146645.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department in its series DNB Occasional Studies with number 302.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbocs:302

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    1. ten Raa, Thijs & Shestalova, Victoria, 2004. "Empirical evidence on payment media costs and switch points," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 203-213, January.
    2. Alexander F. Tieman & Wilko Bolt, 2003. "Pricing Debit Card Payment Services," IMF Working Papers 03/202, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 990-1029, 06.
    4. Humphrey David & Willesson Magnus & Lindblom Ted & Bergendahl Göran, 2003. "What Does it Cost to Make a Payment?," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(2), pages 1-16, June.
    5. Leo Van Hove, 2004. "Cost-based Pricing of Payment Instruments: the State of the Debate," De Economist, Springer, vol. 152(1), pages 79-100, 03.
    6. W. Bolt & A.F. Tieman, 2003. "Pricing Debit Card Payments Services: An IO approach," WO Research Memoranda (discontinued) 735, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    7. Raa, T. ten & Shestalova, V., 2004. "Empirical evidence on payment media costs and switch points," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-140874, Tilburg University.
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