Diary of Consumer Payment Choice

Together, the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice and Survey of Consumer Payment Choice create a comprehensive picture of U.S. consumers' payment preferences and behavior. Payments data is collected in the context of cash holdings, checking account balances, credit card debt, and income receipt, among other variables. The Survey and Diary are representative surveys of U.S. consumers; demographic data is included.

  • Latest Update

    Updated on August 3, 2020

    The 2019 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice measures payment behavior through the daily recording of U.S. consumers' spending. It includes estimates of the number, value, and average value of payments that all U.S. adult consumers made using the various U.S. payment instruments. It also includes estimates of cash held on person by denomination of currency, and it discusses changes in payment choice and cash holdings from 2018 to 2019.

    • In October 2019, almost half of all payments (43 percent) U.S. consumers made were for groceries, gas, and shopping, both in person and online.
    • By value, 40 percent of payments were for financial services, including mortgages, credit card bills, other loan payments, insurance, investments, and so on.
    • The most commonly used payment instruments were debit cards, cash, and credit cards, which jointly accounted for 80 percent of all payments by number and 37 percent by value.
    • By value, about 40 percent of consumer payments were made via ACH payments, executed either through online banking bill payment or by providing a bank routing number and account number to the payee.
    • The average amount of cash a U.S. consumer held in his or her pocket, purse, or wallet was $60 (the median was $24).

    For every payment, the diary asks consumers to report day and time, amount spent, payment instrument used, whether or not a device (mobile phone, for example) was employed, and the type of business organization or person paid. Respondents also answer questions about checking account balances, income, and employment status.

    View the 2019 diary

  • Diaries

  • Diagram