34 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2006
Date Written: April 2006
Debit card use at the point of sale has grown dramatically in recent years in the U.S., and now exceeds the number of credit card transactions. However, many questions remain regarding patterns of debit card use, consumer preferences when using debit, and how consumers might respond to explicit pricing of card transactions. Using a new nationally representative consumer survey, this paper describes the current use of debit cards by U.S. consumers, including how demographics affect use. In addition, consumers' stated reasons for using debit cards are used to analyze how consumers substitute between debit and other payment instruments. We also examine the relationship between household financial conditions and payment choice. Finally, we use a key variable on bank-imposed transaction fees to analyze price sensitivity of card use, and find a 12 percent decline in overall use in reaction to a mean 1.8 percent fee charged on certain debit card transactions; we believe this represents the first microeconomic evidence in the United States on price sensitivity for a card payment at the point of sale.
Keywords: Payments, debit, price response
JEL Classification: D12, D14, E41, G20, L0
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Borzekowski, Ron and Kiser, Elizabeth K. and Ahmed, Shaista, Consumers' Use of Debit Cards: Patterns, Preferences, and Price Response (April 2006). FEDS Working Paper No. 2006-16. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=909224 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.909224