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.

chart2010 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice
In 2010, the number of consumer payments increased nearly 9 percent.
image of paper billsU.S. Consumer Demand for Cash
People with credit card debt do not change their cash holdings with interest rates.
chartVideo: Morning Coffee and Payment Choice
Why study consumer payment choice?


Connecting payments research and development economics

March 2014. Robert M. Townsend, Elizabeth & James Killian Professor of Economics at MIT, has joined the Consumer Payments Research Center as a visiting scholar. [link to bio]

A theorist, macroeconomist, and development economist, Rob leads the Thai Family Research Project, which has collected 15 years of annual data for more than 1,200 households in Thailand and, separately, monthly data for 700 households.  The surveys collect detailed information about income, entrepreneurial activity, cash flow, use of informal and formal financial services, and household balance sheets.

At the Consumer Payment Research Center, Rob is looking at issues related to the optimal number of payment networks in an economy.

Among other research activities, he is principal investigator and faculty director of the Consortium on Financial Systems and Poverty at the University of Chicago, a program which seeks to identify, define, and develop efficient financial systems in developing economies.

The Consumer Payments Research Center is interested in working with scholars who study the demand for money and payments, assess consumer protection and financial literacy, study payment markets and examine consumer behavior.

Learn more about opportunities for scholars.

Consumers say they prefer PIN debit

March 2014. The 2010 survey of Consumer Payment Choice asked consumers their preferences for the different methods of authorizing a debit card transaction (PIN, signature, neither PIN nor signature).

As of fall 2010, consumers reported a preference for PIN debit: 46 percent preferred PIN, 30 percent preferred signature (20 percent had no preference).

Read the full survey report.

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