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“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. The data show faster growth in electronic payments from 2016 to 2017 compared with previous years. Remote payments continued to grow as a share of general-purpose card payments, and the value of in-person chip-authenticated general-purpose card payments exceeded the value of those without chip-authentication for the first time. Meanwhile, partial data from large banks indicate the number of check payments and cash withdrawals from automated teller machines (ATMs) continued to decline.”

A Federal Reserve System publication
Federal Reserve
December 2018

The 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. The data show faster growth in electronic payments from 2016 to 2017 compared with previous years. Remote payments continued to grow as a share of general-purpose card payments, and the value of in-person chip-authenticated general-purpose card payments exceeded the value
of those without chip-authentication for the first time. Meanwhile, partial data from large banks indicate the number of check payments and cash withdrawals from automated teller machines (ATMs) continued to decline.

Highlights

• Card payments continued to show robust growth from 2016 to 2017, collectively increasing 10.1 percent by number and 8.4 percent by value. The increases represent an acceleration in overall card payment growth compared with the previously reported 2015 to 2016 and 2012 to 2015 periods.
• Remote payments continued to grow as a share of total general-purpose card payments. The number of remote payments increased 22.8 percent from 2016 to 2017, compared with in-person payments, which grew 7.2 percent. Over the same period, the value of remote payments increased 14.8 percent, compared with in-person payments, which increased 4.4 percent.
• Chip-authenticated payments accounted for more than half of the value of in-person general-purpose card payments in 2017. Consistent with the 2015 to 2016 period, in-person chip-authenticated card payments continued to post substantial gains, increasing from 19.0 percent of all in-person general-purpose card payments by number and 26.4 percent by value in 2016 to 41.6 percent by number and 51.5 percent by value 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. As previously reported, the decline in the national total number of check payments was 3.0 percent per year from 2012 to 2015 compared with steeper declines from 2000 to 2012. Large-institution check payments increased 7.5 percent by value from 2016 to 2017, opposite the decrease from 2015 to 2016.
• Large-institution ATM withdrawals declined by number and increased by value, consistent with changes reported for 2012 to 2015 for all institutions and 2015 to 2016 for large institutions.

This brief provides 2017 national estimates and 2016 to 2017 growth rates for card payments. These estimates are based on survey data from a census of general-purpose card networks, payment processors, and issuers of private-label cards. The surveys covered four types of debit cards (non-prepaid, general-purpose prepaid, private-label prepaid, and electronic benefits transfer (EBT) supporting certain government assistance programs) and two types of credit cards (general purpose and private label).
This brief also provides new estimates of 2016 to 2017 growth rates for ACH and check payments as well as ATM withdrawals. The growth rate estimates for ACH payments are based on reports compiled by the ACH operators and, therefore, only cover payments on the ACH network. The growth rate estimates for check payments and ATM withdrawals are based on surveys of a group of the largest depository institutions for the 2018 supplement. In addition to new estimates, the brief includes some restated estimates from previous years based on data revisions received during the 2018 survey process.

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