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Merchants' Costs of Accepting Means of Payment: Is Cash the Least Costly?

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In a competitive sales environment, merchants are compelled to offer consumers the option of paying for goods and services using a variety of payment methods, including cash, debit card, or credit card. Each method entails different costs and benefits to merchants. To better understand the costs of accepting retail payments, the Bank of Canada surveyed over 500 Canadian merchants and found that most consider cash the least costly. This article investigated this perception by calculating the variable costs per transaction of accepting different means of payment. The findings are that costs for each payment method vary by merchant and transaction value, with debit cards the least costly payment for a broad cross-section of merchants.

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  • Carlos Arango & Varya Taylor, 2008. "Merchants' Costs of Accepting Means of Payment: Is Cash the Least Costly?," Bank of Canada Review, Bank of Canada, vol. 2008(Winter), pages 17-25.
  • Handle: RePEc:bca:bcarev:v:2009:y:2009:i:winter08-09:p:17-25
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    Cited by:

    1. Naoki Wakamori & Angelika Welte, 2017. "Why Do Shoppers Use Cash? Evidence from Shopping Diary Data," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 49(1), pages 115-169, February.
    2. Gómez González, José Eduardo & Jaramillo Echeverri y, Juliana & Meisel Roca, Adolfo, 2016. "El uso de efectivo y las tendencias de los pagos con tarjetas de débito y crédito en Colombia
      [Cash usage and trends in credit and debit card payments in Colombia]
      ," MPRA Paper 78005, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 15 Sep 2016.
    3. Carlos Arango & Angelika Welte, 2012. "The Bank of Canada’s 2009 Methods-of-Payment Survey: Methodology and Key Results," Discussion Papers 12-6, Bank of Canada.
    4. Lotz, Sébastien & Zhang, Cathy, 2016. "Money and credit as means of payment: A new monetarist approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 68-100.
    5. Marc BOURREAU & Marianne VERDIER, 2010. "Cooperation for Innovation in Payment Systems: The Case of Mobile Payments," Communications & Strategies, IDATE, Com&Strat dept., vol. 1(79), pages 95-114, 3rd quart.
    6. Jasmina Arifovic & John Duffy & Janet Hua Jiang, 2017. "Adoption of a New Payment Method: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Staff Working Papers 17-28, Bank of Canada.
    7. Fumiko Hayashi & William R. Keeton, 2012. "Measuring the costs of retail payment methods," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q II.

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