FedNotes

This publication offers key insights and observations into the Federal Reserve System's cash practices, policies, and strategic direction.

2021 Findings from the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice

Consumers made fewer payments, specifically fewer small-value payments in 2020 compared to 2019. Additionally, while in-person payment dropped by 19% compared to the 2019 Diary, total spending for not-in-person, non-bill payments increased substantially at grocery stores, dining establishments, and general merchandise locations. The total value of not-in-person spending also doubled in 2020. These are some of the prominent findings from the most recent consumer survey conducted by the Federal Reserve System’s Cash Product Office (CPO) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Consumer Payments and the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Second Supplement to the 2020 Findings from the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice

A majority of consumers continued to increase the amount of cash they are carrying and/or storing, while nearly 80% of respondents who made in-person purchases did not indicate that they were avoiding or averse to using cash during the COVID-19 pandemic. These are two prominent findings from the most recent consumer survey conducted by the Federal Reserve System’s Cash Product Office (CPO) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Consumer Payments and the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Supplement to the 2020 Findings from the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice

In the 2020 Findings from the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice, data from October 2019 show that consumers used cash for 26 percent of all payments, and that it is used for nearly 47 percent of payments under $10. To gain an understanding of how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting consumers’ payment choices, the Federal Reserve conducted a supplemental Diary survey from April to May 2020, which provides initial insight into how payment behavior is evolving in the midst of the crisis.

2020 Findings from the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice

In its sixth iteration, the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice data show that consumers used cash for 26 percent of all payments, and that it is used for nearly 47 percent of payments under $10.

Cash Me If You Can: The Impacts of Cashless Businesses on Retailers, Consumers, and Cash Use

Cashless coffee shops, restaurants, and convenience stores have popped up across the country. It is not illegal to refuse cash as a form of payment in most states and cities in the U.S., and going cashless helps these businesses eliminate the costs of handling and transporting cash. But do these savings come at the cost of financial inclusion? This paper explores the impacts of businesses going cashless.

2019 Findings from the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice

In its fifth iteration, the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice data show that cash continues to be used extensively for small-value purchases – representing nearly half of all payments under $10 and 42 percent of payments less than $25. However, consumers’ use of other payment options, including debit and credit cards, is growing.

2018 Findings from the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice

This paper explores how often U.S. consumers spent and held cash during the 2017 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice survey. Data from 2017 show that cash continues to be the most frequently used payment instrument, representing 30 percent of all transactions and 55 percent of transactions under $10.

Understanding Consumer Cash Use: Preliminary Findings from the 2016 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice

Data from the Federal Reserve’s Diary of Consumer Payment Choice shows that cash remains the most used payment instrument in 2016 accounting for 31 percent of all consumer transactions. This study provides a unique view into consumer shopping and payment decisions, including their use of cash.

Cash Holdings: A New View on Cash

As new payments and technologies continue to emerge, cash retains a strong hold among consumers. This paper explores how often U.S. consumers held and spent cash during the 2015 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice survey, and it provides an analysis on consumers’ cash holding behavior.

The State of Cash: Preliminary Findings from the 2015 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice

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.