This publication offers key insights and observations into the Federal Reserve System's cash practices, policies, and strategic direction.
As the payments landscape continues to evolve, cash remains a resilient payment instrument. The Diary of Consumer Payment Choice is one of the Federal Reserve’s primary data sources on consumer payments, and insights from the Diary provide an outlook on how consumers use cash compared to other payment instruments. When first conducted in 2012, Diary results showed that cash was the most frequently used payment instrument and its use was prevalent across all demographic groups. This paper focuses on findings and insights from the 2015 Diary and how they compare to the earlier research.
The way consumers shop today is much different than ten years ago, largely due to the proliferation of new technologies like smartphones and tablets. Today’s new methods of shopping often blur the line between “in-person” and “online” purchases and influence how consumers choose to pay for their purchases. This paper identifies five themes that describe today’s shopping experience and how this new experience may impact cash’s position in the payment landscape.
In an evolving payments landscape where card use continues to grow and occasionally cash is not a payment option, this paper explores segments of the population that resist cash’s alleged decline and continue to carry cash.
With the increase in electronic payments, it has been difficult to determine how personal preferences impact the demand for cash as a payment instrument. By analyzing data on demographics and stated payment preferences, this FedNotes paper provides evidence on the determinants of cash usage for small value payments, and particularly how consumers’ stated payment instrument preference and the amount of the purchase affect their propensity to use cash.
It’s commonplace these days to predict the demise of cash. However, evidence from the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice (DCPC) suggests that consumers choose to use cash more frequently than any other payment instrument, including debit or credit cards. Cash plays a dominant role for small-value transactions, is the leading payment instrument for many types of purchases, and stands as the key alternative when other options are not available. Using the DCPC data, this FedNotes paper explores where, how, and why people use the various payment options and highlights the key and enduring roles cash continues to play in consumer transactions.
Until recently, cash handling has been largely a manual and labor-intensive process. However, this has begun to change with new devices that automate certain back office cash handling functions, such as cash dispensers, recyclers, and smart-safes. Because cash usage remains strong, merchants, banks, and armored carriers are exploring ways to take advantage of these new technologies to automate their cash handling functions. This FedNotes paper provides an overview of cash handling in the financial and merchant environments, along with how these new devices are being used.
The role of paper currency in the U.S. economy is changing. While the share of payments made with cash appears to be falling, cash continues to be used widely and plays an important function as a store of value, domestically and internationally. Cash also serves an enduring role in natural or other disasters when other payment systems may not be available. These factors suggest that cash will continue to be an essential and significant part of the payment and financial system for the foreseeable future.