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Externalities and Regulation in Card Payment Systems


  • Rochet Jean-Charles

    () (IDEI, Toulouse University)

  • Tirole Jean

    (IDEI, Toulouse University, and MIT)


The paper offers a roadmap to the current economic thinking concerning interchange fees. After describing the fundamental externalities inherent in payment systems and analysing merchant resistance to interchange fee increases and the associations' determination of this fee, it derives the externalities' implications for welfare analysis. It then discusses whether consumer surplus or social welfare is the proper benchmark for regulatory purposes. Finally, it offers a critique of the current regulatory approach, and concludes with a call for more novel and innovative thinking about how to reconcile regulators' concerns and the industry legitimate desire to perform its balancing act.

Suggested Citation

  • Rochet Jean-Charles & Tirole Jean, 2006. "Externalities and Regulation in Card Payment Systems," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-14, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:rneart:v:5:y:2006:i:1:n:1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Graeme Guthrie & Julian Wright, 2003. "Competing Payment Schemes," Departmental Working Papers wp0311, National University of Singapore, Department of Economics.
    2. Schmalensee, Richard, 2002. "Payment Systems and Interchange Fees," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 103-122, June.
    3. 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.
    4. Mark Armstrong, 2006. "Competition in two‐sided markets," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(3), pages 668-691, September.
    5. 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.
    6. Chakravorti Sujit, 2003. "Theory of Credit Card Networks: A Survey of the Literature," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(2), pages 1-19, June.
    7. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2014. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 10.
    8. Hunt Robert M., 2003. "An Introduction to the Economics of Payment Card Networks," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(2), pages 1-17, June.
    9. repec:reg:rpubli:105 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Hayashi Fumiko, 2006. "A Puzzle of Card Payment Pricing: Why Are Merchants Still Accepting Card Payments?," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-31, March.
    11. 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.
    12. Caillaud, Bernard & Jullien, Bruno, 2003. " Chicken & Egg: Competition among Intermediation Service Providers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 309-328, Summer.
    13. 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.
    14. Fumiko Hayashi & Richard J. Sullivan & Stuart E. Weiner, 2006. "A guide to the ATM and debit card industry - 2006 update," Monograph, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, number 2006agttaadci2, Jan 17.
    15. 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.
    16. Chakravorti, Sujit & To, Ted, 2007. "A theory of credit cards," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 583-595, June.
    17. 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.
    18. Evans David S., 2003. "Some Empirical Aspects of Multi-sided Platform Industries," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(3), pages 1-19, September.
    19. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marcos Valli Jorge & Wilfredo Leiva Maldonado, 2016. "Price differentiation and menu costs in credit card payments," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 43(2), pages 178-202, May.
    2. Carbó-Valverde Santiago & Liñares-Zegarra José Manuel & Rodríguez-Fernández Francisco, 2012. "Feedback Loop Effects in Payment Card Markets: Empirical Evidence," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 1-24, June.
    3. Zinman, Jonathan, 2009. "Debit or credit?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 358-366, February.
    4. 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.
    5. Lee, Manjong, 2014. "Constrained or unconstrained price for debit card payment?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 53-65.
    6. Michal Polasik, 2015. "The Potential for Development of Mobile Payments and mPOS Usage on the Polish Market: Empirical Results (Potencjal rozwoju platnosci mobilnych i zastosowania mPOS na rynku polskim. Wyniki badan empiry," Problemy Zarzadzania, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, vol. 13(54), pages 65-84.
    7. Benjamin Lester & Andrew Postlewaite & Randall Wright, 2008. "Information, Liquidity and Asset Prices," PIER Working Paper Archive 08-039, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    8. Zhu Wang, 2010. "Regulating debit cards: the case of ad valorem fees," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q I, pages 71-93.
    9. James J. McAndrews & Zhu Wang, 2006. "Microfoundations of two-sided markets: the payment card example," Payments System Research Working Paper PSR WP 06-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    10. Monnet, Cyril & Roberds, William, 2008. "Optimal pricing of payment services," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1428-1440, November.
    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. Cyril Monnet & William Roberds, 2006. "Credit and the no-surcharge rule," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2006-25, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    13. Zhu Wang, 2008. "Market structure and credit card pricing: what drives the interchange?," Payments System Research Working Paper PSR WP 06-04, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    14. Cyril Monnet & William Roberds, 2007. "Optimal pricing of payment services when cash is an alternative," Working Papers 07-26, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    15. Kahn, Charles M. & Roberds, William, 2009. "Why pay? An introduction to payments economics," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-23, January.
    16. David S. Evans, 2009. "The Online Advertising Industry: Economics, Evolution, and Privacy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 37-60, Summer.
    17. Wilko Bolt & Sujit Chakravorti, 2010. "Digitization of Retail Payment," DNB Working Papers 270, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    18. Frans Saxén, 2014. "The No Surcharge Rule and Merchant Competition," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 39-66, March.

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