Discussion Paper

Consumer Behavior in a Health Crisis: What Happened with Cash?


Abstract: In the United States, COVID-19 cases and currency in circulation both surged in March 2020. Did consumer choice play a role in the increase in currency in circulation? With fewer opportunities to shop and pay in person, why would consumers hold more cash? Data from the fall 2019 Survey and Diary of Consumer Payment Choice and interim rapid-response surveys in spring and late summer 2020 give some insights into consumer cash holdings and payments behavior.

Keywords: COVID-19; cash; U.S. currency in circulation; consumer behavior;

JEL Classification: D9; D14; E42;

https://doi.org/10.29338/ph2021-01

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Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Part of Series: Policy Hub

Publication Date: 2021-01-12

Number: 2021-1