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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.
|2||From seashells to electrons||25|
|3||More than money||53|
|4||From gourmets to the masses||87|
|5||From Sardi's to Saks.com||115|
|6||It takes two to tango||133|
|7||Co-opetition and the payment card ecosystem||159|
|11||The antitrust wars||267|
|12||On the brink||297|
|13||And they don't take cash||317|
Posted May 9, 2005
In this history of payment cards, David S. Evans and Richard Schmalensee provide an amazingly lucid account of a couple of unusual business models: the 'two-sided platform,' which in the use of payment cards means walking a tightrope between the interests of merchants and consumers; and the 'co-opetitive,' in which the bank members of MasterCard and Visa cooperate in developing industry practices while competing for business. The authors, who are both former Visa consultants, sound like your favorite college professors - up to date and extremely sophisticated, yet friendly and anecdotal (at one point, they describe a Shell gas station near MIT to make a point about competition among cards). They typically begin chapters with easily understood notions from which they methodically build complex structures of ideas and information. Another virtue of the book is its concreteness - although that occasionally devolves into repetitiveness - starting with an explanation involving electronic signals and following the paper path of what happens when you hand your credit, debit or charge card to a cashier. The authors even consider the design and manufacture of the cards themselves. We recommend this book as essential reading for those in the banking or payment card industries; and it¿s not a bad idea for card users to read it - which these days means you...and just about everyone else.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.