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Competition And Pricing In The Credit Card Market

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  • Victor Stango

Abstract

Many credit card issuers charge "fixed rates" that remain the same for three to five years, while the rest charge "variable rates" that are indexed to market rates. The presence of these two distinct rate types forces prices at firms selling an otherwise identical product to move asynchronously; variable rates move one-for-one with the index, while fixed rates stay constant. Empirical and theoretical analysis shows that this pricing structure provides an explanation for the simultaneous (yet seemingly contradictory) existence of high rate-cost margins and aggressive non-price competition for new customers, a phenomenon that existed in the credit card market in the early 1990s. © 2000 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Suggested Citation

  • Victor Stango, 2000. "Competition And Pricing In The Credit Card Market," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 499-508, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:82:y:2000:i:3:p:499-508
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Marc Rysman, 2007. "An Empirical Analysis Of Payment Card Usage," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 1-36, March.
    2. Song Han & Benjamin J. Keys & Geng Li, 2015. "Information, Contract Design, and Unsecured Credit Supply: Evidence from Credit Card Mailings," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-103, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Song Han & Benjamin J. Keys & Geng Li, 2011. "Credit supply to personal bankruptcy filers: evidence from credit card mailings," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-29, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Ben Fung & Kim Huynh & Leonard Sabetti, 2012. "The Impact of Retail Payment Innovations on Cash Usage," Staff Working Papers 12-14, Bank of Canada.
    5. Scholnick, Barry & Massoud, Nadia & Saunders, Anthony & Carbo-Valverde, Santiago & Rodríguez-Fernández, Francisco, 2008. "The economics of credit cards, debit cards and ATMs: A survey and some new evidence," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1468-1483, August.
    6. Heng Chen & Marie-Hélène Felt & Kim P. Huynh, 2017. "Retail payment innovations and cash usage: accounting for attrition by using refreshment samples," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 180(2), pages 503-530, February.
    7. Chatterji, Aaron K. & Seamans, Robert C., 2012. "Entrepreneurial finance, credit cards, and race," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 182-195.
    8. Lawrence Santucci, 2016. "What Happened to the Revolving Credit Card Balances of 2009?," Consumer Finance Institute discussion papers 16-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    9. Berlin, Mitchell & Mester, Loretta J., 2004. "Credit card rates and consumer search," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1-2), pages 179-198.
    10. Akin, Guzin Gulsun & Aysan, Ahmet Faruk & Kara, Gazi Ishak & Yildiran, Levent, 2008. "Non-price competition in credit card markets through bundling and bank level benefits," MPRA Paper 17768, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Robert Germeshausen & Timo Panke & Heike Wetzel, 2020. "Firm characteristics and the ability to exercise market power: empirical evidence from the iron ore market," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 58(5), pages 2223-2247, May.
    12. Yiwei Dou & Geng Li & Joshua Ronen, 2019. "Does Price Regulation Affect Competition? Evidence from Credit Card Solicitations," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2019-018, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    13. Gordon H. Sellon, 2002. "The changing U.S. financial system : some implications for the monetary transmission mechanism," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, vol. 87(Q I), pages 5-35.
    14. Stango, Victor, 2003. "Strategic Responses to Regulatory Threat in the Credit Card Market," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 427-452, October.
    15. Calem, Paul S. & Gordy, Michael B. & Mester, Loretta J., 2006. "Switching costs and adverse selection in the market for credit cards: New evidence," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1653-1685, June.
    16. Massoud, Nadia & Saunders, Anthony & Scholnick, Barry, 2011. "The cost of being late? The case of credit card penalty fees," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 49-59, June.
    17. Abbas Valadkhani & Sajid Anwar & Amir Arjonandi, 2012. "How to capture the full extent of price stickiness in credit card interest rates?," Economics Working Papers wp12-02, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
    18. Sangkyun Park, 2004. "Consumer rationality and credit card pricing: An explanation based on the option value of credit lines," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(5), pages 243-254.
    19. Kevin Amess & Leigh Drake & Helen Knight, 2010. "An Empirical Analysis of UK Credit Card Pricing," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 37(2), pages 101-117, September.
    20. Marie-Hélène Felt, 2020. "Losing Contact: The Impact of Contactless Payments on Cash Usage," Staff Working Papers 20-56, Bank of Canada.
    21. Gabaix, Xavier & Laibson, David & Li, Deyuan & Li, Hongyi & Resnick, Sidney & de Vries, Casper G., 2016. "The impact of competition on prices with numerous firms," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 1-24.
    22. Brian Mantel & Timothy McHugh, 2001. "Competition and innovation in the consumer e-payments market? considering the demand, supply, and public policy issues," Occasional Paper; Emerging Payments EPS-2001-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    23. Scholnick, Barry & Massoud, Nadia & Saunders, Anthony, 2013. "The impact of wealth on financial mistakes: Evidence from credit card non-payment," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 26-37.
    24. G. Gülsün Akın & Ahmet Faruk Aysan & Gazi Ishak Kara & Levent Yildiran, 2009. "Non-Price Competition in Credit Card Markets: Evidence from an Emerging Economy," 2009 Meeting Papers 2, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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