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Debit use bolsters noncash payments, says Fed payments study
WASHINGTON (7/25/14)--Consumer use of electronic payments--whether by card or via automated clearing house (ACH)--continues to outpace cash and checks, according to updated statistics from the 2013 Federal Reserve Payments Study.
 
Of the 776 million plastic cards used in the United States in 2012, 334 million were credit cards, 283 million were debit cards and 159 million were prepaid cards.
 
Consumers pulled out their debit cards for an average 23 payments per month compared with an average of 11 payments per month for credit cards and 10 for prepaid cards. In 2012, the number of debit card payments reached 47 billion--significantly higher than the 26.2 billion credit card payments.
 
The number of online bill payments--through online banking websites, directly through billers and settled via ACH--exceeded 3 billion in 2012.
 
Notable is the use of mobile payments: Mobile wallet applications accounted for more than 250 million mobile payments, and there were at least 205 million person-to-person or money transfer payments.
 
Check usage continues to decline, although, when used, almost all checks in 2012 were either cleared by electronic image exchange or converted to ACH payments. More than 90% of the drop in total checks was due to reductions in checks for $500 or less.
 
The number of fraudulent transactions in 2012 was 32.2 million worth $6.4 billion. Only 5% of the 32.3 million were made via ACH, and checks had the lowest unauthorized transactions at 3%.
 
This revised report updates data from the December 2013 original report.  The 2013 Federal Reserve Payments Study is the fifth conducted since 2001 by the Federal Reserve System to estimate aggregate trends in noncash payments in the United States. Estimates are based on survey data gathered from depository and financial institutions, payment networks, processors and issuers.


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