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Explaining the Interplay Between Merchant Acceptance and Consumer Adoption in Two-Sided Markets for Payment Methods

Author

Listed:
  • Kim Huynh
  • Gradon Nicholls
  • Oleksandr Shcherbakov

Abstract

Recent consumer and merchant surveys show a decrease in the use of cash at point-of-sale (POS). Increasingly, consumers and merchants have access to a growing array of payment innovations as substitutes for cash. The market for payments is two-sided, meaning that a method of payment can be used only if both consumers and merchants adopt/accept it. This paper develops a model to assess how innovations affect consumers’ adoption and merchants’ acceptance of various payment instruments, and their usage patterns at the POS. We model this interdependence in two stages. First, consumers and merchants decide on which methods of payment to adopt and accept, respectively. Second, consumers and merchants meet at the POS, and the consumer chooses their preferred method of payment given what the merchant accepts. Estimates from our model suggest that both sides of the market can benefit from accepting all means of payment. Further, our model predicts that merchants are much more sensitive to an increase in their payment costs than consumers. We use our model to predict what would happen under three scenarios. First, increasing merchants’ cost of using credit cards would significantly reduce merchant acceptance of this payment instrument in favour of debit. Second, the cost of using cash would have to increase substantially on both sides of the market for cash usage to fall below 1 percent of transaction volume. Finally, even if all consumers/merchants adopted/accepted all methods of payment, cash would fall but would remain at 20 percent of transaction volume. These findings suggest a completely cashless society is unlikely in the foreseeable future.

Suggested Citation

  • Kim Huynh & Gradon Nicholls & Oleksandr Shcherbakov, 2019. "Explaining the Interplay Between Merchant Acceptance and Consumer Adoption in Two-Sided Markets for Payment Methods," Staff Working Papers 19-32, Bank of Canada.
  • Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:19-32
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2014. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 10.
    2. John Bagnall & David Bounie & Kim P. Huynh & Anneke Kosse & Tobias Schmidt & Scott Schuh, 2016. "Consumer Cash Usage: A Cross-Country Comparison with Payment Diary Survey Data," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 12(4), pages 1-61, December.
    3. Naoki Wakamori & Angelika Welte, 2017. "Why Do Shoppers Use Cash? Evidence from Shopping Diary Data," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 49(1), pages 115-169, February.
    4. Ben Fung & Kim Huynh & Gerald Stuber, 2015. "The Use of Cash in Canada," Bank of Canada Review, Bank of Canada, vol. 2015(Spring), pages 45-56.
    5. Sergei Koulayev & Marc Rysman & Scott Schuh & Joanna Stavins, 2016. "Explaining adoption and use of payment instruments by US consumers," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 47(2), pages 293-325, May.
    6. Jean‐Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2011. "Must‐Take Cards: Merchant Discounts And Avoided Costs," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 462-495, June.
    7. Huynh, Kim P. & Schmidt-Dengler, Philipp & Stix, Helmut, 2014. "The Role of Card Acceptance in the Transaction Demand for Money," CEPR Discussion Papers 10183, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Marc Rysman, 2007. "An Empirical Analysis Of Payment Card Usage," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 1-36, March.
    9. Gabriele Camera & Marco Casari & Stefania Bortolotti, 2016. "An Experiment on Retail Payments Systems," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 48(2-3), pages 363-392, March.
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    11. Rysman Marc & Wright Julian, 2014. "The Economics of Payment Cards," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(3), pages 303-353, September.
    12. Ben Fung & Kim Huynh & Kerry Nield & Angelika Welte, 2018. "Merchant Acceptance of Cash and Credit Cards at the Point of Sale," Staff Analytical Notes 2018-1, Bank of Canada.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bank notes; Digital Currencies and Fintech; Econometric and statistical methods; Financial services;

    JEL classification:

    • C51 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Construction and Estimation
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce
    • L96 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Telecommunications

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