IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Network competition and merchant discount fees


  • Fumiko Hayashi


Pricing in two-sided markets has not been fully understood yet. Especially, investigations of how competition in these markets affects the price structure or levels are still underway. This paper takes the payment card industry as an example of two-sided markets and examines whether two networks’ competition lowers one of the prices in the industry, merchant discount fees, and if it does, how much it lowers equilibrium merchant fees compared with the fee set by a monopoly network. If some cardholders hold only one card and the other cardholders hold two different cards, whether network competition lowers the fees and by how much the fees will be lowered depends on various factors, such as the share of multihoming cardholders in the total cardholder base, the merchants’ transactional benefit, each network’s net transactional benefit to its card users, the difference in the two networks’ cardholder bases, and the share of cardholders in the total customer base. Numerical examples with various parameter values suggest that typically, if the share of multihoming cardholders is 20 percent or less, networks can act as if they are monopolies; and if the share is around 50 percent, the average equilibrium merchant fee is reduced from the monopolistic merchant fee by 25 percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Fumiko Hayashi, 2005. "Network competition and merchant discount fees," Payments System Research Working Paper PSR WP 05-04, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkpw:psrwp05-04

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Graeme Guthrie & Julian Wright, 2003. "Competing Payment Schemes," Departmental Working Papers wp0311, National University of Singapore, Department of Economics.
    2. Hayashi Fumiko, 2006. "A Puzzle of Card Payment Pricing: Why Are Merchants Still Accepting Card Payments?," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-31, March.
    3. Fumiko Hayashi & Richard J. Sullivan & Stuart E. Weiner, 2006. "A guide to the ATM and debit card industry - 2006 update," Monograph, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, number 2006agttaadci2, Jan 17.
    4. Fabio M. Manenti & Ernesto Somma, 2002. "Plastic Clashes: Competition among Closed and Open Systems in the Credit Card Industry," Industrial Organization 0211012, EconWPA.
    5. Chakravorti Sujit & Roson Roberto, 2006. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets: The Case of Payment Networks," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-25, March.
    6. Roson Roberto, 2005. "Two-Sided Markets: A Tentative Survey," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(2), pages 1-19, June.
    7. 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.
    8. Schmalensee, Richard, 2002. "Payment Systems and Interchange Fees," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 103-122, June.
    9. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Cooperation Among Competitors: Some Economics Of Payment Card Associations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 549-570, Winter.
    10. Baxter, William F, 1983. "Bank Interchange of Transactional Paper: Legal and Economic Perspectives," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(3), pages 541-588, October.
    11. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Fumiko Hayashi, 2006. "Pricing and welfare implications of payment card network competition," Payments System Research Working Paper PSR WP 06-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

    More about this item



    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedkpw:psrwp05-04. 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: (Lu Dayrit). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.