Consumer Payments Research Center

Contributing to informed public policy for payment systems

The Consumer Payments Research Center conducts survey, econometric, and theoretical research to contribute to public policy that maximizes the welfare of all members of the economy.

2011-2012 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice

Consumer Revolving Credit and Debt over the Life Cycle and Business Cycle
Using a 5 percent sample of every credit account in the United States from 1999 to 2014, an examination of U.S. consumers' patterns of incurring, carrying, and paying off their debts.

image of a spedometer2013 Survey Research & Data Available Now
Research report and complete dataset available for download.

Payment Choice by Consumers' Demographic CharacteristicsPayment Choice by Consumers' Demographic Characteristics
Behavior is correlated with almost all socio-demographic attributes.
research definition Economic Research
Bibliography of papers using Boston Fed consumer payments data.


In short run, no strong consumer response to overdraft opt-in

May 2016. In mid-2010, an amendment was passed to Regulation E, which implements the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, requiring financial institutions to ask consumers whether or not they want overdraft protection for automated teller machine (ATM) transactions and everyday purchases made with a debit card.

From 2009 to 2011, the decline in the percentage of consumers who paid a fee for overdrawing was sharper than the decline in the percentage of those who withdrew more than they had in their bank account. The data do not show a strong and immediate response to the implementation of the opt-in rule.

Read full research data report, "Consumers' Use of Overdraft Protection."

Available credit drives consumer debt

April 2016. Separating convenience users (those who pay off their credit card debt every month) from revolvers (those who carry a balance from month to month): For revolvers a 10 percent increase in credit limit is followed by a 1.3 percent increase in debt within one quarter, and a 9.99 percent increase in debt over the long term.

42 percent of credit card holders carried an unpaid balance at least once in the 12 months ended October 2013, according to the 2013 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice.

Read full research paper, "Consumer Revolving Credit and Debt over the Life Cycle and Business Cycle."

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