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Credit in a Tiered Payments System

  • Alexandra Lai
  • Nikil Chande
  • Sean O'Connor

Payments systems are typically characterized by some degree of tiering, with upstream firms (clearing agents) providing settlement accounts to downstream institutions that wish to clear and settle payments indirectly in these systems (indirect clearers). Clearing agents provide their indirect clearers with an essential input (clearing and settlement services), while also competing directly with them in the retail market for payment services. The authors construct a model of a clearing agent with an indirect clearer to examine the clearing agent's incentives to lever off its upstream position to gain a competitive advantage in the retail payment services market. The model demonstrates that a clearing agent can attain this competitive advantage by raising the indirect clearer's costs, but that the incentive to raise these costs is mitigated by credit risk to the clearing agent from the provision of uncollateralized overdrafts to its indirect clearer. The results suggest that tiered payments systems, which require clearing agents to provide overdraft facilities to their indirect clearers, may result in a more competitive retail payment services market.

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Paper provided by Bank of Canada in its series Working Papers with number 06-36.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:06-36
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  1. Economides, Nicholas, 1998. "The incentive for non-price discrimination by an input monopolist," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 271-284, May.
  2. Holthausen, Cornelia & Tapking, Jens, 2007. "Raising rival's costs in the securities settlement industry," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 91-116, January.
  3. Charles M. Kahn & William Roberds, . "Payment System Settlement and Bank Incentives," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 97-32, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  4. Jens Tapking & Jing Yang, 2004. "Horizontal and vertical integration in securities trading and settlement," Bank of England working papers 245, Bank of England.
  5. Bustos Alvaro E & Galetovic Alexander, 2009. "Vertical Integration and Sabotage with a Regulated Bottleneck Monopoly," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-52, September.
  6. Economides, Nicholas & Salop, Steven C, 1992. "Competition and Integration among Complements, and Network Market Structure," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 105-23, March.
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