How Consumers Get Cash: Evidence from a Diary Survey

Abstract: Most research on payment instruments focuses on how consumers pay or spend their money using a wide variety of payment instruments including cash. This report focuses on the inverse of the question of spending, that is, how do consumers obtain cash? Data from the 2017 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice shows that, over a three-day period, about 21 percent of survey respondents get cash via various methods, such as getting cash from a family member or friend, using an ATM, getting cash back at retail, visiting a bank teller, etc. We find that consumers mostly get cash from family and friends, followed by ATM withdrawals, and the average amount they get is around $100. The median is $40, and, in about half of the cases, consumers get cash in exact multiples of $20. Friday is the most popular day for getting cash in any way, while day-of-week differences are less pronounced for ATM withdrawals.

Keywords: cash; ATMs; Diary of Consumer Payment Choice;

JEL Classification: D9; D14; E42;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Part of Series: Consumer Payments Research Data Reports

Publication Date: 2020-04-01

Number: 2019-1