2019 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice

Kevin Foster, Claire Greene, and Joanna Stavins
June 2020

The 2019 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice (SCPC) is the 12th in a series of annual studies that aim to gain a comprehensive understanding of the payment behavior of U.S. consumers. The SCPC data complement information from the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice (DCPC), for which consumers record details of specific transactions (including dollar values) and their payment choices. Respondents participate in the surveys in September (SCPC) and October (DCPC).

Download the complete report in PDF format

JEL classifications: D12, D14, E42

Key words: cash, checks, checking accounts, debit cards, credit cards, prepaid cards, electronic payments, payment preferences, unbanked, Survey of Consumer Payment Choice

https://doi.org/10.29338/rdr2020-03Off-site link

  • Interactive Charts

    Payment type
    Select one or more payment types, including "All payment methods."

    Income category
    Select one or more income categories, including "All incomes."

    Payment type
    Select one or more payment types, including "All payment methods."

    Age category
    Select one or more age categories, including "All consumers."

    Payment type
    Select one or more payment types, including "All payment methods."

    Transaction category
    Select one or more transaction categories, including "All payments."

  • Key Findings

    In 2019, U.S. consumers made 69 payments per month on average. Consumers made 6 in 10 payments with debit, credit, or prepaid cards: 42 payments. Debit cards were used most, for 24 payments, followed by credit cards (17 payments), and cash (15 payments). Over the 12 years of the survey, debit, cash, and credit have consistently been the most popular ways to pay.

    Some notable results about consumer payment behavior in 2019:

    • Fifty-nine percent of consumers adopted mobile banking and 75 percent online banking.
    • Half of consumers adopted at least one online payment method, such as PayPal, Venmo, or Zelle.
    • Three-quarters of consumers paid electronically from a bank account, either by using their bank’s online bill pay or providing their bank account number to a third party.
    • On average, consumers made 30 percent of in-person retail payments in cash in a typical month.
    • Half of consumers reported that in a typical month they made at least one payment to another person (friend, family, etc.).

    From 2018 to 2019, the share of payments made with cash declined two percentage points, a statistically significant change. The shares of payments made with cards (debit, credit, prepaid) was stable; no change was statistically significant. The shares of consumers who purchased goods or services online or who made a mobile payment were stable from 2018.

  • Data Sets

    Derived Variables with Raw Data

    Raw Data

    • Raw data files hosted at USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research website


    Send data questions to Senior Survey Specialist Kevin Foster.