Central Bank, Payment Systems, Monopoly, TARGET2
The smooth functioning of payment systems is relevant for both the efficiency of the financial sector as well as the implementation of monetary policy operations. Therefore, payment systems are often provided by central banks. The characteristics of individual payment systems, such as increasing economies of scale, favour the development of a monopolistic situation. Therefore, we consider the role of a central bank acting as a monopolist and discuss possible welfare effects. Against the background of huge systemic risks, a central bank acting as an operator of an individual payment system is supposed to be the optimal solution. We illustrate our findings in the light of the role of the Bundesbank which has traditionally been operating its own payment systems.