How Consumers Get Cash: Evidence from a Diary Survey
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, ...
Research on Paying with Cash and Checks
The United States is a land of many firsts: first flight in an airplane (1903). First person on the moon (1969). First email sent (1971). First nation to go fully paperless for payments? Not so likely.
Cashless Stores and Cash Users
The emergence of cashless stores has led several cities and states to ban such stores. This article investigates this issue by characterizing consumers who pay cash for in-person purchases and consumers who do not have credit or debit cards. Using a random utility model, I estimate 1.3 to 30.9 percentage drop in average per-payment consumer surplus if all stores were to become cashless and when utility is measured by the cost of making a payment, security, and convenience. The conclusion provides a discussion of alternatives to cash for in-person purchases that may be needed before all ...
Customer recognition and competition
We introduce three types of consumer recognition: identity recognition, asymmetric preference recognition, and symmetric preference recognition. We characterize price equilibria and compare profits, consumer surplus, and total welfare. Asymmetric preference recognition enhances profits compared with identity recognition, but firms have no incentive to exchange information regarding customer-specific preferences (symmetric preference recognition). Consumers would benefit from a policy panning information exchange regarding individual consumer preferences. Our welfare analysis shows that the ...
The terms "window shopping" and "showrooming" refer to the activity in which potential buyers visit a brick-and-mortar store to examine a product but end up either not buying it or buying the product from an online retailer. This paper analyzes potential buyers who differ in their preference for after-sale service that is not offered by online retailers. For some buyers, making a trip to the brick-and-mortar store is costly; however, going to the store to examine the product has the advantage of mitigating the uncertainty as to whether the product will suit the buyer's needs. The model ...
Who gains and who loses from credit card payments?: theory and calibrations
Merchant fees and reward programs generate an implicit monetary transfer to credit card users from non-card (or ?cash?) users because merchants generally do not set differential prices for card users to recoup the costs of fees and rewards. On average, each cash-using household pays $151 to card-using households and each card-using household receives $1,482 from cash users every year. Because credit card spending and rewards are positively correlated with household income, the payment instrument transfer also induces a regressive transfer from low-income to high-income households in general. ...
Low-Income Consumers and Payment Choice
Low-income consumers are not only constrained with spending, but also with the type and variety of payment methods available to them. Using a representative sample of the U.S. adult population, this paper analyzes the low possession (adoption) of credit and debit cards among low-income consumers who are also unbanked. Using a random utility model, I estimate the potential welfare gains associated with policy options suggested in the literature to provide subsidized and unsubsidized debit cards to this consumer population.
U.S. Consumers' Use of Personal Checks: Evidence from a Diary Survey
This paper presents a snapshot of U.S. consumers’ use of paper checks in 2017 and 2018, combining data from the 2017and 2018 Diaries of Consumer Payment Choice.Other data sources have tracked the decline in the use of paper checks since 2000. This report adds to that data by delving into the characteristics of 1,600 individual transactions—in particular, dollar amount, payee, and payer—made by a representative sample of U.S. consumers using checks. Among the findings:•Consumers used checks for 7 percent of transactions overall in 2017 and 2018 and wrote about three checks a ...
Efficient organization of production: nested versus horizontal outsourcing
The authors characterize equilibrium and efficient modes of production by comparing nested (vertical) outsourcing with horizontal outsourcing. Nested outsourcing is found to be inefficient unless the cost of monitoring outsourced production lines increases sharply with the number of subcontractors and not only with the number of outsourced components. They characterize a market failure in which nested outsourcing is selected when the case dictates that horizontal outsourcing is the efficient outsourcing mode. This failure occurs at an intermediate range of the costs of monitoring outsourcing ...
Why don’t most merchants use price discounts to steer consumer payment choice?
Recent legislation and court settlements in the United States allow merchants to use price discounts to steer customers to pay with means of payment that are less costly to merchants. This paper suggests one method of calculating merchants? change in profit associated with giving price discounts to buyers who pay with debit cards and cash. We use data from the pilot of the Boston Fed?s Diary of Consumer Payment Choice to compute rough estimates of the expected net cost reduction by merchant type that may result from debit card and cash price discounts. We find that steering consumers to debit ...