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Economics of Payment Cards: A Status Report

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  • Wilko Bolt
  • Sujit Chakravorti

Abstract

In this article, we survey the recent theoretical literature on payment cards and study their implications for public policy. Payment card networks have faced regulatory scrutiny in several countries regarding the setting of various fees including interchange fees fees paid by the merchant's financial institution to the cardholder's financial institution. In addition, other common payment practices such as no-surcharge rules have also been challenged in several jurisdictions. Unlike other types of markets, card payment services are network goods where two distinct end-users (i.e. consumers and merchants) must participate for the good to be consumed.

Suggested Citation

  • Wilko Bolt & Sujit Chakravorti, 2008. "Economics of Payment Cards: A Status Report," DNB Working Papers 193, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:193
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Graeme Guthrie & Julian Wright, 2003. "Competing Payment Schemes," Departmental Working Papers wp0311, National University of Singapore, Department of Economics.
    2. Garcia-Swartz Daniel D. & Hahn Robert W. & Layne-Farrar Anne, 2006. "The Move Toward a Cashless Society: A Closer Look at Payment Instrument Economics," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-24, June.
    3. Mark Armstrong, 2006. "Competition in two‐sided markets," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(3), pages 668-691, September.
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    5. Beijnen, Christine & Bolt, Wilko, 2009. "Size matters: Economies of scale in European payments processing," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 203-210, February.
    6. Schwartz Marius & Vincent Daniel R., 2006. "The No Surcharge Rule and Card User Rebates: Vertical Control by a Payment Network," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-31, March.
    7. Humphrey, David B & Kim, Moshe & Vale, Bent, 2001. "Realizing the Gains from Electronic Payments: Costs, Pricing, and Payment Choice," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(2), pages 216-234, May.
    8. Hans Brits & Carlo Winder, 2005. "Payments are no free lunch," DNB Occasional Studies 302, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    9. James J. McAndrews & Zhu Wang, 2006. "Microfoundations of two-sided markets: the payment card example," Payments System Research Working Paper PSR WP 06-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    10. Bolt, Wilko & Tieman, Alexander F., 2008. "Heavily skewed pricing in two-sided markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 1250-1255, September.
    11. Bolt, Wilko & Jonker, Nicole & van Renselaar, Corry, 2010. "Incentives at the counter: An empirical analysis of surcharging card payments and payment behaviour in the Netherlands," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1738-1744, August.
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    13. 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.
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    15. Humphrey, David & Willesson, Magnus & Bergendahl, Goran & Lindblom, Ted, 2006. "Benefits from a changing payment technology in European banking," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1631-1652, June.
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    19. Bolt Wilko & Humphrey David, 2007. "Payment Network Scale Economies, SEPA, and Cash Replacement," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(4), pages 1-21, December.
    20. 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.
    21. Schmalensee, Richard, 2002. "Payment Systems and Interchange Fees," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 103-122, June.
    22. Wilko Bolt & David Humphrey & Roland Uittenbogaard, 2008. "Transaction Pricing and the Adoption of Electronic Payments: A Cross-Country Comparison," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 4(1), pages 89-123, March.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Carbó-Valverde Santiago & Liñares-Zegarra José Manuel & Rodríguez-Fernández Francisco, 2012. "Feedback Loop Effects in Payment Card Markets: Empirical Evidence," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 1-24, June.
    2. Nicholas Economides & David Henriques, 2011. "To Surcharge or Not To Surcharge? A Two-Sided Market Perspective of the No-Surcharge Rule," Working Papers 11-03, NET Institute.
    3. Fabio M. Manenti & Ernesto Somma, 2011. "Plastic Clashes: Competition Among Closed And Open Payment Systems," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 79(6), pages 1099-1125, December.
    4. Wilko Bolt & Sujit Chakravorti, 2011. "Pricing in Retail Payment Systems: A Public Policy Perspective on Pricing of Payment Cards," DNB Working Papers 331, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    5. Biliana Alexandrova-Kabadjova & Sara Gabriela Castellanos Pascacio & Alma L. García-Almanza, 2012. "The Adoption Process of Payment Cards -An Agent- Based Approach," Working Papers 2012-02, Banco de México.
    6. Jonker Nicole, 2011. "Card Acceptance and Surcharging: the Role of Costs and Competition," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 1-35, June.
    7. Alexandrova-Kabadjova, Biliana & Negrín, José Luis, 2009. "What drives the network’s growth? An agent-based study of the payment card market," Working Paper Series 1143, European Central Bank.
    8. repec:eee:jbrese:v:88:y:2018:i:c:p:466-473 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Krivosheya, Egor & Korolev, Andrew, 2016. "Benefits of the retail payments card market: Russian cardholders' evidence," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 5034-5039.
    10. Biliana Alexandrova-Kabadjova & Alma L. Garcia-Almanza & Sara G. Castellanos Pascacio, 2012. "El proceso de adopcion de tarjetas de pago: un enfoque basado en agentes," Working Papers 1214, BBVA Bank, Economic Research Department.
    11. Oz Shy, 2011. "A Short Survey of Network Economics," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 38(2), pages 119-149, March.
    12. Bolt, Wilko & Schmiedel, Heiko, 2009. "SEPA, efficiency, and payment card competition," Working Paper Series 1140, European Central Bank.
    13. Wilko Bolt & Sujit Chakravorti, 2010. "Digitization of Retail Payment," DNB Working Papers 270, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    14. Julian Wright, 2012. "Why payment card fees are biased against retailers," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 43(4), pages 761-780, December.
    15. Langlet, Markus, 2011. "Payment Card Network Pricing - A Theoretical Approach Analyzing the Relationship between Downstream Market Characteristics and the Merchant Usage Fee," EconStor Theses, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, number 44593.
    16. Santiago Carbó Valverde & Sujit Chakravorti & Francisco Rodríguez-Fernández, 2009. "Regulating two-sided markets: an empirical investigation," Working Paper Series WP-09-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    17. Oz Shy & Zhu Wang, 2011. "Why Do Payment Card Networks Charge Proportional Fees?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1575-1590, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    retail financial services; payment card networks; pricing; competition;

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • D53 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Financial Markets

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