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Credit card interchange fees

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  • Rochet, Jean-Charles
  • Wright, Julian

Abstract

We build a model of credit card pricing that explicitly takes into account credit functionality. We show that a monopoly card network always selects an interchange fee that exceeds the level that maximizes consumer surplus. If regulators only care about consumer surplus, a conservative regulatory approach is to cap interchange fees based on retailers’ net avoided costs from not having to provide credit themselves. In the model, this always raises consumer surplus compared to the unregulated outcome, sometimes to the point of maximizing consumer surplus. JEL Classification:

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1138.

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Date of creation: Dec 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20091138

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Keywords: credit card networks; credit card pricing; interchange fees;

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References

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  1. Weiner Stuart E. & Wright Julian, 2005. "Interchange Fees in Various Countries: Developments and Determinants," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(4), pages 1-34, December.
  2. Wright, Julian, 2003. "Optimal card payment systems," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 587-612, August.
  3. Julian Wright, 2001. "The Determinants of Optimal Interchange Fees in Payment Systems," Industrial Organization 0108001, EconWPA.
  4. 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.
  5. Hendrik J. Brouwer & Chair, 2005. "General discussion : Weiner-Wright : Interchange fees in various countries : developments and determinants," Proceedings – Payments System Research Conferences, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue May, pages 65-72.
  6. Schuh, Scott & Stavins, Joanna, 2010. "Why are (some) consumers (finally) writing fewer checks? The role of payment characteristics," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1745-1758, August.
  7. Bolt, Wilko & Jonker, Nicole & van Renselaar, Corry, 2010. "Incentives at the counter: An empirical analysis of surcharging card payments and payment behaviour in the Netherlands," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1738-1744, August.
  8. 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.
  9. Chang Howard & Evans David S. & Garcia Swartz Daniel D., 2005. "The Effect of Regulatory Intervention in Two-Sided Markets: An Assessment of Interchange-Fee Capping in Australia," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(4), pages 1-31, December.
  10. Richard Schmalensee, 2001. "Payment Systems and Interchange Fees," NBER Working Papers 8256, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Terri Bradford, 2008. "Developments in interchange fees in the United States and abroad," Payments System Research Briefing, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Apr.
  12. Graeme Guthrie & Julian Wright, 2007. "COMPETING PAYMENT SCHEMES -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 37-67, 03.
  13. Wilko Bolt & Sujit Chakravorti, 2008. "Consumer Choice and Merchant Acceptance of Payment Media," DNB Working Papers 197, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  14. 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.
  15. John Simon & Kylie Smith & Tim West, 2009. "Price Incentives and Consumer Payment Behaviour," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2009-04, Reserve Bank of Australia.
  16. Rochet, Jean-Charles & Tirole, Jean, 2008. "Must-Take Cards: Merchant Discounts and Avoided Costs," IDEI Working Papers 496, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  17. Graeme Guthrie & Julian Wright, 2003. "Competing Payment Schemes," Departmental Working Papers wp0311, National University of Singapore, Department of Economics.
  18. 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.
  19. Zinman, Jonathan, 2009. "Debit or credit?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 358-366, February.
  20. Hyytinen Ari & Takalo Tuomas, 2009. "Consumer Awareness and the Use of Payment Media: Evidence from Young Finnish Consumers," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(2), pages 1-25, June.
  21. repec:reg:rpubli:338 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Farrell Joseph, 2006. "Efficiency and Competition between Payment Instruments," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-19, March.
  23. Chakravorti, Sujit & To, Ted, 2007. "A theory of credit cards," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 583-595, June.
  24. Alan S. Frankel, 2005. "Interchange fees in various countries : developments and determinants : commentary on Weiner and Wright," Proceedings – Payments System Research Conferences, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue May, pages 51-64.
  25. Sujit Chakravorti & William R. Emmons, 2001. "Who pays for credit cards?," Occasional Paper; Emerging Payments EPS-2001-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Andrew Ching & Fumiko Hayashi, 2006. "Payment card rewards programs and consumer payment choice," Payments System Research Working Paper PSR WP 06-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  2. Wilko Bolt & Sujit Chakravorti, 2010. "Digitization of Retail Payment," DNB Working Papers 270, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  3. Dragoi, Ionut Mihai, 2013. "The Interchange Fees - A Comparison between Optimal Private and Social Levels," Journal for Economic Forecasting, Institute for Economic Forecasting, vol. 0(1), pages 24-38, March.
  4. Humphrey, David B., 2010. "Retail payments: New contributions, empirical results, and unanswered questions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1729-1737, August.
  5. Zenger, Hans, 2011. "Perfect surcharging and the tourist test interchange fee," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 2544-2546, October.
  6. Marcos Valli Jorge & Wilfredo Leiva Maldonado, 2012. "Price Differentiation and Menu Costs in Credit Card Payments," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2012-592, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
  7. Zenger, Hans, 2010. "Perfect surcharging and the tourist test interchange fee," MPRA Paper 27004, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Pidong Huang & Young Sik Kim & Manjong Lee, 2014. "Optimal Allocation of Social Cost for Electronic Payment System: A Ramsey Approach," Discussion Paper Series 1402, Institute of Economic Research, Korea University.
  9. Sumit Agarwal & Sujit Chakravorti & Anna Lunn, 2010. "Why do banks reward their customers to use their credit cards?," Working Paper Series WP-2010-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  10. David S. Evans & Richard Schmalensee, 2013. "The Antitrust Analysis of Multi-Sided Platform Businesses," NBER Working Papers 18783, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Claire M. Weiller & Michael G. Pollitt, 2013. "Platform Markets and Energy Services," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1361, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.

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