Some Antitrust Foundations of Payment Card Associations


In this study we analyze platforms and rejections in two-sided markets with network externalities, using the specific context of a payment card association. We look at the cooperative antitrust determination of the interchange fee by member banks, using a framework in which banks and merchants may have market power and consumers and merchants decide rationally on whether to buy or accept a payment card developed by Rochet and Tirole (2002). After showing the welfare implications of a cooperative determination of the interchange fee and antitrust conduct, we describe in detail the factors affecting merchant resistance, compare cooperative and for-profit business models, and make a first cut in the analysis of system competition.


Law and Economics

Date of this Version

August 2004