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Merchant acceptance of cash and credit cards at the point of sale

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Recent data show that the use of credit cards in Canada has been increasing, while the use of cash has been declining. At the same time, only two-thirds of small or medium-sized enterprises accept credit cards. To better understand the future development of this trend, it is important to study whether a change in merchant fees will increase credit card acceptance and thus further reduce cash use. To this end, this paper calculates the level of merchant fee where a merchant would be indifferent to accepting a credit card or cash payment, using the merchant indifference test. The study finds that the results are sensitive to the underlying assumptions. The paper also discusses the key issues of applying such a methodology to Canada.
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Keywords: cash; credit cards; merchant indifference test; sensitivity analysis

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2018

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Payments Strategy & Systems publishes peer-reviewed articles and case studies analysing best practice, emerging issues and new thinking in how to develop a profitable, customer-focused payments strategy. It examines major issues facing the corporate, wholesale and retail payments industry from a business, risk and operational perspective.

    Edited by renowned payments expert Alec Nacamuli and guided by an eminent Editorial Board, each quarterly 100-page issue provides practical, detailed analysis of developments and trends in the payments business, regulation, new entrants and technologies and how to bring them all together to define your payments strategy, as well as actionable advice and ‘lessons learned’ from fellow professionals on how payment processing systems can be leveraged to maximise profitability, security and efficiency and minimise risk. It contains no advertising and no advertorial.

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