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Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Research Data Report
The 2016 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice
Claire Greene
Scott Schuh

This paper describes key results from the 2016 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice (DCPC), the third in a series of diary surveys that measure payment behavior through the daily recording of U.S. consumers’ spending. In October 2016, consumers paid mostly with cash (31 percent of payments), debit cards (27 percent), and credit cards (18 percent). These instruments accounted for 76 percent of the number of payments, but only 34 percent of the total value of payments, because they tend to be used more for smaller-value payments. Electronic payments accounted for 43 percent of the value of payment but only 14 percent of the number of payments. The average value of a cash transaction was $22, compared to $112 for the average noncash transaction (and $84 for all transactions). The average value of consumers’ holdings of cash on their persons (in pocket, purse, or wallet) was $57, and the median was $24. Given uncertainty about the comparability of point estimates from the 2015 DCPC and the 2016 DCPC, this report includes confidence intervals and probability-based estimates of the changes in consumer payment behavior from 2015 to 2016.

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Claire Greene & Scott Schuh, The 2016 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Research Data Report 17-7, 01 Dec 2017.
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Keywords: cash; checks; checking accounts; debit cards; credit cards; prepaid cards; electronic payments; payment preferences; Diary of Consumer Payment Choice
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