The Diary of Consumer Payment Choice (DCPC), a payment diary conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, measures payment behavior through the daily recording of spending by type of payment instrument. Since 2008, the Boston Fed has annually conducted the Survey of Consumer Payment Choice (SCPC), which derives data from respondents' recall of their recent typical payment behavior. The DCPC was designed, in part, to validate and supplement the SCPC. The SCPC and DCPC both find that cash and debit are the most frequently used payment instruments.
The DCPC has added detailed information about individual transactions that is not included in the SCPC. In particular, it collects data on the dollar value and merchant type for each transaction. The DCPC also obtains information about locations for retail purchases and bill payments conducted in person, online, or by mail. Such data can be used to improve understanding of consumer payment preferences and decisions.
This paper includes the official tables and reports the main results from the 2012 DCPC, the first edition of the survey. It involved about 2,500 participants and was conducted in October 2012.