Price Differentiation and Menu Costs in Credit Card Payments
We build a model of credit card payments where the retailers are allowed to charge differential prices depending on the instrument of payment chosen by the consumer. We follow the Rochet and Wright (2010) approach, but assuming a credit card system without a no-surcharge rule or any type of price differentiation disincentive. In a Hotelling competition framework at the retailers level, the competitive equilibrium prices are computed assuming that the store credit provided by the retailer is less cost efficient than the one provided by the credit card. In accordance with the literature, we obtain that the interchange fee becomes neutral if we eliminate the no-surcharge rule, when the interchange fee loses its ability to distort the individual consumer’s decisions displacing the aggregated consumers’ welfare from its maximum. We prove that the average price obtained under price differentiation is smaller than the single retail price under the no-surcharge rule, despite the retailer’s margins being the same in both scenarios. Furthermore, we show how some cross subsidies are eliminated when price differentiation is allowed. In addition, we introduce menu costs to prove that there is a threshold value for the interchange fee such that price differentiation is equilibrium if that fee is above this value. The threshold may be interpreted as an endogenous cap for the interchange fee fixed by the credit card industry. Finally we conclude that, even with menu costs associated to price differentiation, the consumers’ welfare can be greater in the price differentiated equilibrium than in the single price equilibrium under the non-surcharge rule.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Weiner Stuart E. & Wright Julian, 2005.
"Interchange Fees in Various Countries: Developments and Determinants,"
Review of Network Economics,
De Gruyter, vol. 4(4), pages 1-34, December.
- Stuart E. Weiner & Julian Wright, 2005. "Interchange fees in various countries : developments and determinants," Proceedings – Payments System Research Conferences, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue May, pages 5-49.
- Stuart E. Weiner & Julian Wright, 2005. "Interchange fees in various countries: developments and determinants," Payments System Research Working Paper PSR WP 05-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
- Schuh, Scott & Stavins, Joanna, 2010.
"Why are (some) consumers (finally) writing fewer checks? The role of payment characteristics,"
Journal of Banking & Finance,
Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1745-1758, August.
- Scott Schuh & Joanna Stavins, 2009. "Why are (some) consumers (finally) writing fewer checks?: the role of payment characteristics," Working Papers 09-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
- Sujit Chakravorti & William R. Emmons, 2001. "Who pays for credit cards?," Occasional Paper; Emerging Payments EPS-2001-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
- Richard Schmalensee, 2001.
"Payment Systems and Interchange Fees,"
NBER Working Papers
8256, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2006.
"Externalities and Regulations in Card Payment Systems,"
- 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.
- Wright, Julian, 2003. "Optimal card payment systems," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 587-612, August.
- 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.
- Rochet, Jean-Charles & Wright, Julian, 2009.
"Credit card interchange fees,"
Working Paper Series
1138, European Central Bank.
- Chakravorti, Sujit & To, Ted, 2007. "A theory of credit cards," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 583-595, June.
- Terri Bradford, 2008. "Developments in interchange fees in the United States and abroad," Payments System Research Briefing, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Apr.
- 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.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bcb:wpaper:315. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Francisco Marcos Rodrigues Figueiredo)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.