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).
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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.:
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