Switching Costs and Adverse Selection in the Market for Credit Cards: New Evidence
46 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2005 Last revised: 16 Feb 2011
Date Written: July 1, 2005
To explain persistence of credit card interest rates at relatively high levels, Calem and Mester (AER, 1995) argued that informational barriers create switching costs for high-balance customers. As evidence, using data from the 1989 Survey of Consumer Finances, they showed that these households were more likely to be rejected when applying for new credit. In this paper, they revisit the question using the 1998 and 2001 SCF. Further, they use new information on card interest rates to test for pricing effects consistent with information-based switching costs. The authors find that informational barriers to competition persist, although their role may have declined.
Keywords: Credit cards, Consumer switching costs, Adverse selection
JEL Classification: D82, G2
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation