Understanding consumer payment preferences and behaviors Understanding consumer payment preferences and behaviors

2015 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice 2015 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice

October 17, 2017

The 2015 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice (SCPC) is the eighth in a series of annual studies conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston to gain a comprehensive understanding of the cash and noncash payment behavior of U.S. consumers.

In 2015, U.S. consumers made 68.9 payments per month using a variety of different payment methods. Debit cards remained the most popular payment instrument among U.S. consumers in 2015, accounting for 32.5 percent of their monthly payments, followed by cash (27.1 percent) and credit or charge cards (21.3 percent). For nonbills, consumers used cash and debit equally—about one-third of the time for each.

Consumers used payment cards for half of all bill payments and electronic payments from bank accounts for one-quarter of bill payments. In 2015, U.S. consumers on average held $202 in cash (on person and stored on property, large values excluded). Use of new payment technologies was still relatively rare. Just over 1 percent of consumers had a Venmo account in 2015. About half a percent of U.S. consumers held bitcoin or other virtual currencies.

The 2015 SCPC was implemented using a new longitudinal panel and results are not yet comparable to the 2008–2014 SCPC.