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Pricing Debit Card Payment Services; An IO Approach

  • Alexander F. Tieman
  • Wilko Bolt

This paper presents a theoretical framework for analyzing pricing structures in debit card schemes featuring cardholders, retailers, their respective banks, and a network routing switch. The network routing switch controls the electronic debit card network and is jointly owned by the banks. In setting its prices, it needs to consider getting both consumers and retailers to participate in the market. In this two-sided market for debit cards, we show that the "double-monopolistic" network routing switch may want to supply consumers with cheap debit cards, deriving profits from charging a high retailer fee per transaction. This theoretic result resembles the current practice in the Netherlands where consumers pay no transaction fee, but retailers do. This corner solution carries over when we analyze socially optimal pricing.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 03/202.

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Length: 34
Date of creation: 01 Oct 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:03/202
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  1. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 990-1029, 06.
  2. W. Bolt, 2003. "Retail Payments in the Netherlands: some Facts and Some Theory," WO Research Memoranda (discontinued) 722, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  3. Rochet, Jean-Charles & Tirole, Jean, 1999. "Cooperation Among Competitors: The Economics of Credit Card Associations," CEPR Discussion Papers 2101, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. David Humphrey & Moshe Kim & Bent Vale, 1998. "Realizing the gains from electronic payments: costs, pricing, and payment choice," Proceedings 586, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  5. David Humphrey & Lawrence Pulley & Jukka Vesala, 2000. "The Check's in the Mail: Why the United States Lags in the Adoption of Cost-Saving Electronic Payments," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 17-39, February.
  6. 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 541-88, October.
  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 103-22, June.
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