Consumer Payments Research Center

Contributing to informed public policy for payments 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.

Credit CARD actSecurity of Retail Payments: The New Strategic Objective
Simulation results show security improvements would have only a small effect on the use of individual payment instruments.
Merchant Steering of Consumer Payment Choice
In 2012, only a small fraction of transactions received discounts or surcharges for payment method.
image of paper billsU.S. Consumer Demand for Cash
People with credit card debt do not change their cash holdings with interest rates.
chart7-Country Comparison
Measurements of consumers' cash use in Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the U.S.


Consumer cash usage: surprisingly stable since the mid 1990s

August 2014. Surveys conducted in seven industrialized countries find that cash has not disappeared as a payment instrument, especially for low-value transactions. The use of cash is strongly correlated with transaction size, demographics, and point-of-sale characteristics such as merchant card acceptance and venue.

Cross country comparisons of all personal payments at the point of sale, for remote purchases, or in-person to other persons find that, across the 7 countries, between 46 percent and 82 percent of the number of these payment transactions are conducted by cash. In Austria and Germany, cash represents more than 50 percent of the value of transactions. In Canada, France, and the U.S., cash accounts for about one-fourth of the value of transactions. (Recurring payments are excluded.)

Summer visits by scholars from Columbia, Harvard, NYU

June 2014. Economists are visiting the Boston Fed this summer to explore opportunities for joint research on econometrics and consumer behavior. This summer's visitors include Andrew Hertzberg, Columbia; Theresa Kuchler, New York University; and Ariel Pakes, Harvard.

Visiting scholars may have access to data resources and may conduct collaborative research. Graduate students are invited to explore opportunities to use Consumer Payments Research Center data resources..

Learn more about opportunities for scholars.

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