July 24, 2014

Fed study shows credit card popularity

July 25, 2014 – The 2013 Federal Reserve Payments Study, released Thursday, shows that credit cards are the most prevalent of general-purpose cards, check use is continuing to decline and consumers made more than 250 million mobile payments through mobile wallet applications.

Out of 776 million active general-purpose cards, 334 million were credit cards, 283 million were debit cards and 159 million were prepaid cards. In terms of purchase activity, consumers preferred debit cards and made an average of 23 payments with debit cards per month compared to an average of 11 payments with credit cards and 10 with prepaid cards.

The study also found that the number of online bill payments exceeded 3 billion in 2012, with the number of secure online payments – for example, online payments using PINs – totaling more than 1.8 billion. There were also at least 205 million person-to-person or money transfer payments.

Check use continues to decline, with 90 percent of the decrease attributable to reductions in checks being written for $500 or less and 45 percent attributable to a decrease in checks written for $50 or less.

The study is the fifth in a series of triennial surveys conducted by the Federal Reserve.