The 2009 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice

126 Pages Posted: 7 May 2012  

Kevin Foster

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Erik Meijer

University of Southern California; RAND Corporation

Scott D. Schuh

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston - Research Department

Michael A. Zabek

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Date Written: April 1, 2011

Abstract

This paper presents results of the 2009 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice (SCPC), along with revised 2008 SCPC data. In 2009, the average U.S. consumer held 5.0 of the nine payment instruments available, including cash, and used 3.8 of them during a typical month. Between the 2008 and 2009 surveys, a period that includes the trough of the latest recession, consumers significantly increased their use of cash and close substitutes for cash, such as money orders and prepaid cards. At the same time, consumers reduced their use of credit cards and (to a lesser extent) debit cards, as well as payments made using a bank account number. Weaker economic conditions, new government regulations, and bank pricing of payment card services all likely contributed to the shift back toward cash. However, it is difficult to determine how much each of these factors contributed, and whether the shift is transitory or permanent, without more data and research on consumer payment choice. In 2009, one in three consumers had a prepaid card and nearly as many had a nonbank payment account online, while 3 percent made a mobile payment. By focusing on payments by consumers only, the SCPC complements the recent 2010 Federal Reserve Payment Study, which describes the entire noncash payments economy.

JEL Classification: D12, D14, E42

Suggested Citation

Foster, Kevin and Meijer, Erik and Schuh, Scott D. and Zabek, Michael A., The 2009 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice (April 1, 2011). FRB of Boston Public Policy Discussion Paper No. 11-1. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1864854 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1864854

Kevin Foster

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Boston ( email )

600 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02210
United States

Erik Meijer

University of Southern California ( email )

635 Downey Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089-3332
United States

RAND Corporation ( email )

1776 Main Street
P.O. Box 2138
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States

Scott Schuh (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston - Research Department ( email )

600 Atlantic Ave.
Boston, MA 02210
United States
617-973-3941 (Phone)
617-619-7541 (Fax)

Michael A. Zabek

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Boston ( email )

600 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02210
United States

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