IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

An Economic Analysis of the Determination of Interchange Fees in Payment Card Systems


  • Rochet Jean-Charles

    () (IDEI, Toulouse University, and LSE.)

  • Tirole Jean

    (IDEI, Toulouse University, and MIT)


The paper investigates, in a non-technical fashion, the economic determinants of interchange fees in payment card systems and the potential need for their regulation. Among other things, it demonstrates that the proposal for a cost-based regulation of interchange fees relies on an erroneous, vertically organized, model of the payment card industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Rochet Jean-Charles & Tirole Jean, 2003. "An Economic Analysis of the Determination of Interchange Fees in Payment Card Systems," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(2), pages 1-11, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:rneart:v:2:y:2003:i:2:n:2

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Farrell, Joseph & Saloner, Garth, 1986. "Installed Base and Compatibility: Innovation, Product Preannouncements, and Predation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 940-955, December.
    2. Graeme Guthrie & Julian Wright, 2003. "Competing Payment Schemes," Departmental Working Papers wp0311, National University of Singapore, Department of Economics.
    3. Kitch, Edmund W, 1990. "The Framing Hypothesis: Is It Supported by Credit Card Issuer Opposition to a Surcharge on a Cash Price?," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 217-233, Spring.
    4. Schmalensee, Richard, 2002. "Payment Systems and Interchange Fees," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 103-122, June.
    5. Brito, Dagobert L & Hartley, Peter R, 1995. "Consumer Rationality and Credit Cards," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 400-433, April.
    6. 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.
    7. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2014. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 10.
    8. Wright, Julian, 2003. "Optimal card payment systems," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 587-612, August.
    9. Marius Schwartz & Daniel Vincent, 2002. "Same Price, Cash, or Card: Vertical Control by Payment Networks," Working Papers gueconwpa~02-02-01, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
    10. 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 541-588, October.
    11. Ausubel, Lawrence M, 1991. "The Failure of Competition in the Credit Card Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 50-81, March.
    12. James J. McAndrews, 1997. "Network issues and payment systems," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Nov, pages 15-25.
    13. Wright, Julian, 2003. "Pricing in debit and credit card schemes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 305-309, September.
    14. Sujit Chakravorti & Timothy McHugh, 2002. "Why do we use so many checks?," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q III, pages 44-59.
    15. Sujit Chakravorti & William R. Emmons, 2001. "Who pays for credit cards?," Occasional Paper; Emerging Payments EPS-2001-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    16. Julian Wright, 2004. "The Determinants of Optimal Interchange Fees in Payment Systems," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 1-26, March.
    17. Chakravorti, Sujit & To, Ted, 2007. "A theory of credit cards," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 583-595, June.
    18. Joshua S. Gans & Stephen P. King, 2003. "A Theoretical Analysis of Credit Card Reform in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 79(247), pages 462-472, December.
    19. JOHN M. Barron & MICHAEL E. Staten & JOHN Umbeck, 1992. "Discounts For Cash In Retail Gasoline Marketing," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 10(4), pages 89-102, October.
    20. Gans Joshua S & King Stephen P, 2003. "The Neutrality of Interchange Fees in Payment Systems," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-18, January.
    21. William P. Osterberg & James B. Thomson, 1998. "Network externalities: the catch-22 of retail payments innovations," Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Feb.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Anderson, Simon P. & Gabszewicz, Jean J., 2006. "The Media and Advertising: A Tale of Two-Sided Markets," Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture, Elsevier.
    2. James J. McAndrews & Zhu Wang, 2008. "The economics of two-sided payment card markets: pricing, adoption and usage," Research Working Paper RWP 08-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    3. Samuel Rutz, 2010. "Interchange Fees as a Mechanism to Raise Rivals' Costs - Some Evidence from Switzerland," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 146(II), pages 507-532, June.
    4. Zenger, Hans, 2010. "Perfect surcharging and the tourist test interchange fee," MPRA Paper 27004, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Stuart E. Weiner & Julian Wright, 2005. "Interchange fees in various countries : developments and determinants," Proceedings – Payments System Research Conferences, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue May, pages 5-49.
    6. David S. Evans & Richard Schmalensee, 2005. "The economics of interchange fees and their regulation : an overview," Proceedings – Payments System Research Conferences, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue May, pages 73-120.
    7. Schmiedel, Heiko & Bolt, Wilko & Foote, Elizabeth, 2011. "Consumer credit and payment cards," Working Paper Series 1387, European Central Bank.
    8. Oz Shy & Zhu Wang, 2008. "Why do card issuers charge proportional fees?," Research Working Paper RWP 08-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    9. Fumiko Hayashi & Stuart E. Weiner, 2006. "Interchange fees in Australia, the UK, and the United States : matching theory and practice," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q III, pages 75-112.
    10. Snellman, Heli, 2006. "Automated teller machine network market structure and cash usage," Scientific Monographs, Bank of Finland, number 2006_038.
    11. Wang, Zhu, 2010. "Market structure and payment card pricing: What drives the interchange?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 86-98, January.
    12. Economides, Nicholas & Tåg, Joacim, 2012. "Network neutrality on the Internet: A two-sided market analysis," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 91-104.
    13. Nicholas Economides, 2007. "Nonbanks in the payments system: vertical integration issues," Proceedings – Payments System Research Conferences, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    14. Carol L. Clark, 2005. "Shopping without cash: the emergence of the e-purse," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q IV, pages 34-51.
    15. Zenger, Hans, 2011. "Perfect surcharging and the tourist test interchange fee," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 2544-2546, October.
    16. Amelio, Andrea & Jullien, Bruno, 2012. "Tying and freebies in two-sided markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 436-446.
    17. Patricia Guajardo F. & Sergio Rodríguez E., 2008. "Funcionamiento del Mercado Tarjetas de Crédito y Debate sobre Tarifas de Intercambio," Notas de Investigación Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 11(1), pages 137-144, April.
    18. Kyoung-Soo Yoon & Jooyong Jun, 2016. "Liability, Information, and Anti-fraud Investment in a Layered Retail Payment Structure," Working Papers 2016-12, Economic Research Institute, Bank of Korea.
    19. Jan KRÄMER & Michael WOHLFARTH, 2015. "Regulating Over-the-Top Service Providers in Two-Sided Content Markets: Insights from the Economic Literature," Communications & Strategies, IDATE, Com&Strat dept., vol. 1(99), pages 71-90, 3rd quart.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:rneart:v:2:y:2003:i:2:n:2. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.