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2024 Findings from the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice highlight increased payments and stable demand for cash since the pandemic

The Federal Reserve

A new study from Federal Reserve Financial Services revealed consumers made more payments in 2023 than in previous years, continuing the trend of rising payment transactions since 2020. The 2024 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice (Diary), now in its eighth consecutive year, is a survey conducted to understand the evolving role of cash in the U.S. economy. Findings show amid increased payments, cash’s share decreased in favor of credit and debit cards, but overall cash use has remained stable as consumers continued to hold more cash than they did before 2020 as both a store-of-value (up 53%) and in their pockets, purses or wallets as a backup payment instrument (up 23%).

The findings also show a growing generational divide among those using cash versus electronic payments. Consumers younger than age 55 used cash for just 12% of payments in 2023, compared to 22% for those age 55 and older. Notably, for the first time in Diary history, cash was not the most-used instrument for smaller-value payments of $25 or less.

“The trend toward electronic payment methods observed during the COVID-19 pandemic has continued, though cash use remained stable as a payment option,” said Kathleen Young, executive vice president and chief of FedCash® Services. “The diary is helpful to our business and others in the industry to understand the long-term trends of cash usage and we continue to learn that cash is foundational to giving all consumers choice in payment. More and more cash demand is increasing as a store of value use case and holding steady post-pandemic for transactional use. This underscores the lasting need for investments in the ecosystem that support a healthy and resilient cash supply chain.”

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