Federal Reserve Study Shows More Than Three-Quarters of Noncash Payments are Now Electronic
December 8, 2010
Circular No. 12265

The Federal Reserve’s 2010 study of noncash payments has revealed that in 2009 more than three-quarters of all U.S. noncash payments were made electronically, a 9.3 percent annual increase since the Federal Reserve's last study in 2007. This growth and other statistics in the study emphasize consumers' increasing adoption of electronic alternatives for payments in the United States. The 2007 study revealed that in 2006 roughly two-thirds of the payments were made electronically.

The number of noncash payments in the United States increased 4.6 percent per year since 2006, approximately the same pace as the previous three-year period, 4.5 percent. The value of noncash payments experienced an annual rate of decline of 1.6 percent over the last three years compared to an annual growth rate of 3.9 percent from 2003 to 2006. About 20 billion more electronic payments were made in 2009 than in 2006 which represented a 9.3 percent annual increase.

The 2010 Federal Reserve Payments Study consists of three research efforts commissioned to estimate the annual number, dollar value, and composition of noncash retail payments in the United States. The Depository Institutions Payments Study included responses from approximately 1,300 financial institutions (commercial banks, savings institutions and credit unions). The Electronic Payments Study included responses from 94 of the largest payment networks, processors and card issuers. The Check Sample Study characterized check payments according to type of payer, payee and purpose. Study data are based on a random sample of checks processed by 11 banks that use the Viewpointe archive.

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