Americans' choice in noncash payment has become debit cards

Americans have changed how they pay for goods and services in a dramatic way in recent years. They are increasingly opting for electronic payments and debit cards, a study by the Federal Reserve System shows.

"The 2013 Federal Reserve Payments Study" tracks how Americans made noncash payments from 2000-2012. In 2000, debit cards were used for 8.3 billion payments compared to 12.3 billion payments with credit cards. Twelve years later, debit would dominate, with 47 billion payments in 2012, compared to 23.8 billion for credit cards.

Meanwhile, the number of checks signed has dropped dramatically, from 41.9 billion in 2000, clearly the leader in noncash payments at the time, to just 18.3 billion in 2012. ACH payments, or electronic payments, made up 6.1 billion payments in 2000, and surpassed checks in 2012 with 21.7 billion payments.

A sample of 1,182 financial institutions participated in the Fed's study, with a margin of error of less than plus or minus 5 percent. Surveys were collected between January and May 2013 by mail, fax, email and online. Results were released July 24, 2014.


See related: Prepaid debit cards: With all the scams, are they worth it?, More infographics

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Updated: 04-19-2019