Findings from the 1st Diary of Consumer Payment Choice (Federal Reserve, 2014)

calendar iconApr 3, 2018

In July 2014, the Federal Reserve published a Working Paper on Consumer Preferences and the Use of Cash as part of their Findings from the 1st Diary of Consumer Payments Choice (DCPC).

According to the data taken from the DCPC 2012 survey, cash users are predicted to use cash 80% of the time overall, but 91% for transactions under $20 and 57% for transactions over $20. On the other hand, cash-averse consumers still use cash 30% of the time overall, 49% when the transaction is less than $20 and 8% when purchases are over $20.

Key findings include

  • In 2012, consumers made an average of 58.7 transactions, of which 50.5 were non-bill transactions.
  • In 2012, 46% of the non-bill transactions took place with cash, by far the largest percentage of any payment instrument.
  • Even when debit and credit cards are combined (45.6%), the number of cash transactions is still greater than the number of card transactions.

Excerpt from the Federal Reserve 2014 Working Paper

The growth of electronic payments in the U.S. continues to be impressive, as it has been for the past 20 years. The triennial Federal Reserve Payment Study from 2012 shows that debit cards have increased from 8.3 billion transactions in 2000 to 47.0 billion transactions in 2012, more than a fivefold increase. Credit cards, while declining slightly during the financial crisis in 2009, have increased from 15.6 to 26.2 billion transactions over the same 12 year period.

However, the limited amount of information regarding cash usage at the transaction level makes it difficult to determine how this influx of electronic payments impacts the demand for cash as a payment instrument. Currency in circulation data from the Federal Reserve can give some insight into how the demand for cash has been affected by these electronic payments, but these data cannot distinguish between cash usage as a payment instrument and usage as a store of value.

Download 1st DCPC here

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Last Updated: Jul 15, 2019

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