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 December 5, 2019

    The 2018 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 2017 to 2018.

    • In October 2018, consumers made more payments with debit cards than with any other payment instrument (28 percent of payments).
    • Cash, in all prior diary years the most-used payment instrument, followed with 26 percent of payments.
    • Together with credit cards (23 percent), these instruments accounted for slightly more than three-quarters of the number of payments.
    • By value, electronic payments accounted for 36 percent of the value of total payments, a statistically significant increase from 2017.

    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 2018 diary

  • Diaries

  • Diagram