Survey: Cards Account for More than Half of Payments

Debit cards, cash and credit cards remain the most popular payment methods, according to recently released results from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s 2013 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice. More than half of consumer payments were made with a card — 31 percent with a debit card and 23 percent with a credit card — while cash accounted for 26 percent of payments. The share of paper checks declined by one point to 8 percent, continuing the instrument’s declining trend over the six years the survey has been conducted.

The survey showed that the average consumer made 67.9 payments per month, holding to a consistent trend over the past six years. For the average consumer, 35 percent of payments were for retail goods, 22 percent were for services, and 33 percent were for bills. Consumer choices for method of bill payment was split fairly evenly among online bill pay, automatic withdrawals and paying by mail or in person, and preferences appear to be converging after online and automatic bill payment shares dipped in 2009.

The survey also asked consumers what methods they used to access banking services in 2013. ATM use rates dropped by more than eight points to 65 percent, while mobile banking access rates shot up by more than 12 points to 47 percent. More than a third of respondents reported using mobile payments.