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Competition Policy Issues in the Consumer Payments Industry

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Abstract

We discuss the current structure of card networks that facilitate transactions between merchants and consumers. We find that presently fees for this intermediation are considerably higher than costs. This is facilitated by rules imposed by the card networks on the merchants that do not allow merchants to steer competition to cards that have lower fees. It has also been facilitated by the requirement that a merchant has to accept all cards of the same network (honor all cards rule) -- recently abolished in the US, as well as by the fact that the networks set the maximum interface fee between issuing and acquiring banks. We propose the abolition of anti-steering rules so that merchants are able to pass on card holders the costs of the card they use. This will facilitate inter- and intra-network competition and will improve the competitiveness and efficiency of the market. Classification-L13, L41, L42, L50, L89

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File URL: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/networks/Economides_Competition_Policy_Payments_Industry.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by NET Institute in its series Working Papers with number 08-39.

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Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision: Oct 2008
Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:0839

Note: 20 pages
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Web page: http://www.NETinst.org/

Related research

Keywords: card networks; payment systems; anti-steering; surcharge; discrimination; oligopoly; collusion; MasterCard; Visa; American Express; credit card; debit card;

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