Must-Take Cards and the Tourist Test
AbstractAntitrust authorities often argue that merchants cannot reasonably turn down payment cards and therefore are forced to accept unacceptably high merchant discounts. The paper attempts to shed light on this �must-take cards� view from two angles. First, the paper gives some operational content to the notion of �must-take card� through the �tourist test� (would the merchant want to refuse a card payment when a non-repeat customer with enough cash in her pocket is about to pay at the cash register?) and analyzes its relevance as an indicator of excessive interchange fees. Second, it identifies four key sources of potential social biases in the payment card associations' determination of interchange fees: internalization by merchants of a fraction of cardholder surplus, issuers' per-transaction markup, merchant heterogeneity, and extent of cardholder multi-homing. It compares the industry and social optima both in the short term (fixed number of issuers) and the long term (in which issuer offerings and entry respond to profitability).
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department in its series DNB Working Papers with number 127.
Date of creation: Jan 2007
Date of revision:
Card payment systems; interchange fee; internalization; multi-homing; tourist test.;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
- D40 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure and Pricing - - - General
- O30 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-02-24 (All new papers)
- NEP-COM-2007-02-24 (Industrial Competition)
- NEP-TUR-2007-02-24 (Tourism Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- 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.
- Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Triole, 2002. "Platform Competition in Two Sided Markets," FMG Discussion Papers dp409, Financial Markets Group.
- Rochet, Jean-Charles & Tirole, Jean, 2003. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," IDEI Working Papers 152, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
- Farrell Joseph, 2006. "Efficiency and Competition between Payment Instruments," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-19, March.
- N. Gregory Mankiw & Michael D. Whinston, 1986. "Free Entry and Social Inefficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 48-58, Spring.
- Baxter, William F, 1983. "Bank Interchange of Transactional Paper: Legal and Economic Perspectives," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(3), pages 541-88, October.
- Schmalensee, Richard, 2002.
"Payment Systems and Interchange Fees,"
Journal of Industrial Economics,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 103-22, June.
- Lal, Rajiv & Matutes, Carmen, 1994. "Retail Pricing and Advertising Strategies," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67(3), pages 345-70, July.
- Wright, Julian, 2003. "Optimal card payment systems," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 587-612, August.
- Wright, Julian, 2003. "Pricing in debit and credit card schemes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 305-309, September.
- Rochet Jean-Charles, 2003. "The Theory of Interchange Fees: A Synthesis of Recent Contributions," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(2), pages 1-28, June.
- Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Cooperation Among Competitors: Some Economics Of Payment Card Associations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 549-570, Winter.
- John Vickers, 2005. "Public policy and the invisible price : competition law, regulation, and the interchange fee," Proceedings – Payments System Research Conferences, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue May, pages 231-247.
- Alexandrova-Kabadjova, Biliana & Negrín, José Luis, 2009. "What drives the network’s growth? An agent-based study of the payment card market," Working Paper Series 1143, European Central Bank.
- James McAndrews & Zhu Wang, 2006.
"Microfoundations of two-sided markets: the payment card example,"
Payments System Research Working Paper
PSR WP 06-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
- James McAndrews & Zhu Wang, 2007. "Microfoundations of Two-sided Markets: The Payment Card Example," DNB Working Papers 128, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
- Kemppainen, Kari, 2008. "Integrating European retail payment systems: some economics of SEPA," Research Discussion Papers 22/2008, Bank of Finland.
- Verdier, Marianne, 2010. "Interchange fees and incentives to invest in payment card systems," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 539-554, September.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Rob Vet).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.