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.

2011-2012 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice2011-12 Surveys of Consumer Payment Choice: Data and Economic Analysis
October 2014: New data on assessments, ownership, and use of 9 payment instruments.
image of a spedometerCosts and Benefits of Building Faster Payment Systems
The U.K. Experience and Implications for the United States.
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.


Free online data for economic education and research: FedSurveys

December 2014. These Federal Reserve Surveys will be exhibiting at the American Economic Association/Allied Social Sciences Associations meeting in Boston, January 3-5, 2015, Booth #422. Learn about opportunities for research collaborations and uses in the classroom.

  • Survey of Consumer Finances
  • Survey of Consumer Payment Choice
  • Diary of Consumer Payment Choice
  • Survey of Consumer Expectations
  • Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking
  • Consumers and Mobile Financial Services
  • Federal Reserve Payments Study

Debit cards, cash account for largest shares of consumer payments

September 2014. In 2012, the number of consumer payments did not change significantly from 2010 as the economy settled into steady expansion following the financial crisis and recession. After increasing by 28 percent from 2008 to 2010, cash payments by consumers fell back by 10 percent from 2010 to 2012, while the share of cash payments dropped for a third straight year to 26.8 percent.

Credit and charge card payments by consumers, which declined in 2009, rebounded further, increasing by 14 percent from 2010 to 2012. The steady trend decline in paper check payments by consumers continued. Debit cards and cash continued to account for the two largest shares of consumer payments in 2012.

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.)

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