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"Rip-Off" ATM Surcharges

Listed author(s):
  • Nadia Massoud
  • Dan Bernhardt

We develop a spatial model in which we endogenize both the pricing of ATM services by banks and the choice of home bank and ATM use by consumers. The equilibrium delivers the empirical regularities: Banks set high bank account fees for their own customers, but do not charge them for ATM usage; in contrast, banks charge high ATM fees for non-member users, fees that exceed those levels that would maximize ATM revenues from non-members; and larger banks set higher account fees and demand higher surcharges for ATM use than smaller banks. Paradoxically, (i) A bank's ATM revenues may fall short of its costs of ATM provision; and (ii) Prohibiting banks from surcharging non-members, by forcing banks to charge members and non-members the same ATM price, leads to higher ATM prices, greater bank profits and possibly reduced consumer welfare.

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Article provided by The RAND Corporation in its journal RAND Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 33 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 (Spring)
Pages: 96-115

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Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:33:y:2002:i:spring:p:96-115
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