Paying with Plastic: The Digital Revolution In Buying And Borrowing

Paperback | December 17, 2004

byDavid S. Evans, Richard Schmalensee

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The payment card business has evolved from its inception in the 1950s as a way to handle payment for expense-account lunches (the Diners Club card) into today's complex, sprawling industry that drives trillions of dollars in transaction volume each year. Paying with Plastic is the definitive source on an industry that has revolutionized the way we borrow and spend. More than a history book, Paying with Plastic delivers an entertaining discussion of the impact of an industry that epitomizes the notion of two-sided markets: those in which two or more customer groups receive value only if all sides are actively engaged. New to this second edition, the two-sided market discussion provides useful insight into the implications of these market dynamics for cardholder rewards, merchant interchange fees, and card acceptance. The authors, both of whom have researched the industry for more than 25 years, also examine the implications of the recent antitrust cases on the industry as well as other business and technological changes -- including the massive consolidation brought about by bank mergers, the rise of the debit card, and the emergence of e-commerce -- that could alter the payment card industry dramatically in the years to come.

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The payment card business has evolved from its inception in the 1950s as a way to handle payment for expense-account lunches (the Diners Club card) into today's complex, sprawling industry that drives trillions of dollars in transaction volume each year. Paying with Plastic is the definitive source on an industry that has revolutioniz...

David S. Evans is Managing Director of the Global Competition Policy Practice at LECG LLC and part of Market Platform Dynamics, a management consulting firm that focuses on strategic analysis and product design for platform-based firms.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.75 inPublished:December 17, 2004Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:026255058X

ISBN - 13:9780262550581

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The payment card business has evolved from its inception in the 1950s as a way to handle payment for expense-account lunches (the Diners Club card) into today's complex, sprawling industry that drives trillions of dollars in transaction volume each year. Paying with Plastic is the definitive source on an industry that has revolutionized the way we borrow and spend. More than a history book, Paying with Plastic delivers an entertaining discussion of the impact of an industry that epitomizes the notion of two-sided markets: those in which two or more customer groups receive value only if all sides are actively engaged. New to this second edition, the two-sided market discussion provides useful insight into the implications of these market dynamics for cardholder rewards, merchant interchange fees, and card acceptance. The authors, both of whom have researched the industry for more than 25 years, also examine the implications of the recent antitrust cases on the industry as well as other business and technological changes -- including the massive consolidation brought about by bank mergers, the rise of the debit card, and the emergence of e-commerce -- that could alter the payment card industry dramatically in the years to come. Evans and Schmalensee's Paying with Plastic provides a rigorous analysis and deep insights about the payment card industry's fascinating institutional features. This book will appeal not only to policy-makers and business executives, but also to the theoretically inclined economist. The second edition incorporates much new material, including recent advances to two-sided market economics (to which the authors have made substantial contributions). A remarkable achievement.