722 - Retail Payments in the Netherlands: some Facts and Some Theory

Wetenschappelijke publicatie
Date 1 January 2003

In the first part of this article we present a brief description of Dutch retail payment systems in terms of market structure and performance, usage of payment instruments, and corresponding tariff structures. Although it is con-cluded that the Dutch retail payment market as a whole showed strong dynamic potential in terms of product and process innovations over the last decade, some parts of the payment services industry have recently attracted controversy and antitrust scrutiny. These market imperfections touch upon transparancy of pricing consumer payment services, infrastructural arrangements, organisation of the Dutch debit card network, and accessibility of retail payment systems. In the second part of this article, these imperfections will be studied within a theoretic framework. Since payment activities pose complex multiplayer problems, industrial organization type of models may typically prove useful here, leading to new insights and relevant policy conclusions. Keywords: retail payments, payment instruments, pricing, competition, network effects JEL Codes: G31, L10, L41