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The Determinants of Optimal Interchange Fees in Payment Systems

  • Julian Wright

    (The University of Auckland)

A fundamental aspect of any open payment system is the interchange fee that is paid from the merchant's bank to the cardholder's bank. Using a model in which there is partial participation by heterogeneous consumers and merchants, this paper characterizes the output maximizing, profit maximizing and welfare maximizing level of such an interchange fee. It examines how the optimal level of the fee depends on costs, profits margins, pass-through coefficients, participation rates, and membership fees, as well as two different strategic effects arising from competition between merchants. It also determines the factors which drive deviations between the output maximizing, profit maximizing, and welfare maximizing interchange fees.

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File URL: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/io/papers/0108/0108001.pdf
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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Industrial Organization with number 0108001.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 16 Aug 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:0108001
Note: Type of Document - ; pages: 46 . Department of Economics Working Paper No. 220 University of Auckland July 19, 2001
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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  1. Armstrong, Mark, 2001. "The theory of access pricing and interconnection," MPRA Paper 15608, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Chakravorti, Sujit & To, Ted, 2007. "A theory of credit cards," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 583-595, June.
  3. Schmalensee, Richard, 2002. "Payment Systems and Interchange Fees," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 103-22, June.
  4. Sujit Chakravorti & William R. Emmons, 2001. "Who pays for credit cards?," Occasional Paper; Emerging Payments EPS-2001-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  5. Wright, Julian, 2002. "Access Pricing under Competition: An Application to Cellular Networks," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 289-315, September.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 2001. "Competition in Telecommunications," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262621509, June.
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