The 2011 and 2012 Surveys of Consumer Payment Choice
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. However, the number and dollar value of cash withdrawals and the dollar value of cash holdings by consumers increased in 2012. 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 (29.9 and 26.8 percent, respectively), but the credit share reached 21.6 percent—surpassing its highest level recorded in the SCPC in 2008. The 2011 and 2012 SCPC include methodological improvements to the measurement of prepaid cards and mobile banking and payments. In 2012, 52 percent of consumers had at least one type of prepaid card, up slightly from 2011; also in 2012, 36 percent of consumers used mobile banking and 18 percent made a mobile payment. The 2008–2012 SCPC contains results that may help researchers and policymakers identify potential indirect effects of Regulation II (the Durbin Amendment) on consumers and may help to inform the Federal Reserve’s new strategic plan for the payment system.