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Research

An efficient, effective, and safe U.S. and global payment and settlement system is vital to the U.S. economy. One way the Federal Reserve System can help promote payments system safety and soundness is by providing reliable quantitative information and research about technological innovations and other developments in the payments landscape.

For the most recent research, visit the Payment Research (Off-Site) page on the Board of Governors website.

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2019 Research

The 2019 Federal Reserve Payments Study Detailed Data Release

The Federal Reserve Board has published detailed noncash payments data from the 2019 Federal Reserve Payments Study (FRPS). The additional data, estimated from surveys covering 2012 through 2018, supplements the noncash payments overview provided by the top-line data released in December 2019.

The FRPS Detailed Data Release includes new information about core noncash payments and some evolving areas of payments in the United States:

  • The estimated number and value of checks for 2018 are revised to 14.0 billion and $26.8 trillion, respectively. As a result, the estimated decline in the number of checks from 2015 to 2018 is revised to 8.2 percent per year, steeper than the previously reported 7.2 percent per year decline. The estimated decline in the value of checks is revised to 2.8 percent per year, less steep than the previously reported 4.0 percent per year decline.
  • Use of alternative payment methods and services continues to grow. For example, according to estimates from processors, the number of payments via person-to-person and money transfer services more than doubled from 2015 to 2018.
  • Wire transfers originated by consumers grew at double-digit rates by both number and value from 2012 through 2018.

October 2020

For the full report, including charts and data tables, visit the Payment Research (Off-Site) page on the Board of Governors website.

2019 Federal Reserve Payments Study

The 2019 Federal Reserve Payments Study (2019 study) is the seventh in a series of triennial studies conducted by the Federal Reserve System since 2001 to estimate aggregate trends in noncash payments in the United States.

Key findings:

  • The number of ACH credit and debit transfers grew by 6.0 percent per year between 2015 and 2018, exceeding the 4.9 percent per-year growth rate recorded for 2012 to 2015.
  • Debit and credit card payments grew at an accelerated rate of 8.9 percent per year between 2015 and 2018, up from the 6.8 percent yearly rate of increase from 2012 to 2015.
  • For general-purpose cards overall, the value of remote payments in 2018 nearly equaled that of in-person payments.
  • More than half of in-person general-purpose card payments were chip authenticated, up from 2.0 percent in 2015.
  • Payments made by check fell 7.2 percent per year from 2015 to 2018.

December 2019

For the full report, including charts and data tables, visit the Payment Research (Off-Site) page on the Board of Governors website.

2018 Research

Federal Reserve Payments Study 2018 Annual Supplement

This Federal Reserve Payments Study (FRPS) brief updates data on core noncash payment types and systems that support everyday payments by U.S. consumers and businesses.

Among the important findings:

  • Card payments continued to show robust growth from 2016 to 2017, collectively increasing 10.1 percent by number and 8.4 percent by value.
  • Remote payments continued to grow as a share of total general-purpose card payments.
  • Chip-authenticated payments accounted for more than half of the value of in-person general-purpose card payments in 2017.
  • Network automated clearinghouse (ACH) payments exhibited accelerating growth, increasing 5.7 percent by number and 6.9 percent by value from 2016 to 2017.
  • Large-institution check payments showed an accelerated decline of 4.8 percent by number from 2016 to 2017.

December 2018

For the full report, including charts and data tables, visit the Payment Research (Off-Site) page on the Board of Governors website.

2017 Research

Changes in U.S. Payments Fraud from 2012 to 2016: Evidence from the Federal Reserve Payments Study

This report details the cost and number of fraudulent payments in the U.S.

Among the important findings:

  1. Noncash payments fraud (comprised of card, ACH, and check fraud) rose to $8.34 billion in 2015.
  2. Generally payments fraud was a small fraction of the value of all payments, less than fifty cents per $10,000 in noncash payments in 2012 and 2015.
  3. As a percentage share of all payments by both dollar value and number of payments, however, payments fraud is increasing.
  4. Also in 2012 and 2015, most payments fraud is by card.
  5. From 2015 to 2016, in-person card fraud declined and remote card fraud increased.

October 2018

For the full report, including charts and data tables, visit the Payment Research (Off-Site) page on the Board of Governors website.

Federal Reserve Payments Study 2017 Annual Supplement

After the completion of the most recent triennial Study in 2016, a smaller and more targeted data collection effort was established to produce annual trending information. This initial data release contains the results of the inaugural Federal Reserve Payments Study 2017 Annual Supplement. Results presented in this report are based on survey data gathered from depository and financial institutions, general-purpose card networks and processors, and issuers of various private-label payment instruments. The 2017 Supplement collected the number and value of payments that were initiated in calendar year 2016 from consumer and business accounts domiciled in the U.S. Moving forward, annual supplements are planned for each intervening year between triennial study releases. While these annual supplements will not be as comprehensive as the triennial Study, they should smooth the top-line trending information and provide more current information between the triennial Study release years.

December 2017

2016 Research

2016 Federal Reserve Payments Study

The 2016 Federal Reserve Payments Study is the sixth in a series of triennial studies conducted by the Federal Reserve System to determine the aggregate volume and composition of electronic and check payments in the United States. This study provides the public and the payments industry with estimates and trend information about the evolving nature of the nation’s payments system. The study requested full-year 2015 payments data for various payment types from respondents to two of the three survey components; the third component involves a random sampling of checks processed in 2015 to determine distribution of party, counterparty and purpose. As with the 2013 Study, the 2016 Study was further expanded to survey and estimate additional activities related to payment volumes that may help the industry and the public better understand payments system trends.

June 2017

December 2016

Note: Results contained in the December 2016 and June 2017 data release reports and data tables for the 2016 Federal Reserve Payments Study have been updated as of December 21, 2017, to reflect revised estimates.

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2013 Research

2013 Federal Reserve Payments Study

The 2013 Federal Reserve Payments Study is the fifth of a series of triennial studies conducted by the Federal Reserve System to comprehensively estimate and study aggregate trends in noncash payments in the United States. This study reports the total number and value of all noncash payments estimated to have been made in 2012 by consumers and businesses, including for-profit and nonprofit enterprises, and federal, state, and local government agencies. These payments included those initiated from accounts domiciled in the United States and typically involved the use of debit, prepaid and credit cards, automated clearinghouse (ACH) or checks. The 2013 Study marks an expanded effort to survey and estimate additional activities related to payment volumes that may help to better understand payments system trends.

Read the announcement (PDF)  of this important study or take a moment to review the findings from our research listed below:

Note: The 2013 Federal Reserve Payments Study Summary Report released on December 19, 2013, has been updated as of July 24, 2014, to reflect revised estimates.

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2010 Research

2010 Federal Reserve Payments Study

The 2010 Federal Reserve Payments Study is the fourth of a series of triennial studies conducted by the Federal Reserve System to comprehensively estimate and study aggregate trends in noncash payments in the United States. This study estimates the total number and value of payments that were made in 2009 by check, debit card, credit card, automated clearinghouse (ACH), and prepaid card from accounts domiciled in the United States. The study also estimates the number and value of ATM withdrawals.

Read the announcements (PDF) of this important study or take a moment to review the findings from our research listed below:

Note: The 2010 Federal Reserve Payments Study Summary Report released on December 8, 2010, has been updated as of April 5, 2011, to reflect revised estimates.

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2007 Research

2007 Federal Reserve Payments Study

The 2007 Federal Reserve Payments Study is part of an ongoing effort by the Federal Reserve System to measure and analyze trends in noncash payments in the United States. It consists of three individual studies: the Check Sample Study (2007 CS study), the Depository Institutions Payments Study (2007 DI study), and the Electronic Payments Study (2007 EP study).

Read the announcements (PDF)  of this important study or take a moment to review the findings from our research listed below:

Note: The summary report references the DI and EP studies only. Estimates in the DI study detailed report may differ from those in the summary report or EP study detailed report. The differences are due to differences in the reference periods, methodologies, or, in some cases, minor revisions to preliminary estimates.

May 2008 Revision: Exhibit 4: Response Rate per Stratum, page 26, has been replaced.

2007 Federal Reserve Study Shows That More Than Two-Thirds of Noncash Payments Are Now Electronic

Read the announcement (PDF) of this important study or take a moment to review the summary findings from our Retail Payments Research listed below:

2007 Federal Reserve Payments Study - Summary Report (PDF) 

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2006 Research

Opportunities for Growth in Wire Payments

The Federal Reserve Banks and The Clearing House conducted a joint research study entitled "Business to Business Wire Transfer Payments: Customer Preferences and Opportunities for Financial Institutions". The study offers an in-depth view of the issues facing organizations that routinely make wire transfer payments and focuses on the motivations driving payment decisions as well as potential opportunities for achieving growth in wire payments.

For more information, please see the study findings (PDF).

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2001 - 2004 Research

2004 Federal Reserve Studies Confirm Electronic Payments Exceed Check Payments for the First Time

Retail Services leads the way in the transition from the current paper-based U.S. retail payment system toward a predominantly electronic system.

Read the announcement of this important study (PDF)  or take a moment to review the detailed findings from our Retail Payments Research listed below:

2002 Community Bank Study

The primary purpose of this study is to examine the business strategies that community banks are undertaking to remain viable in a changing banking environment, identify what community banks require from the payments mechanism to survive in this environment, and suggest how the Federal Reserve might contribute to meeting those needs.

For more information, please see the study findings (PDF) .

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