December 20, 2018
Federal Reserve Payments Study Supplement shows accelerated electronic payments growth
For release at 12:00 p.m. EST
Growth in card payments has accelerated, according to new electronic payments data collected by the Federal Reserve. Card payments increased 10.1 percent by number and 8.4 percent by value from 2016 to 2017, each larger than the increases of 7.8 percent by number and 6.3 percent by value from 2015 to 2016. Remote payments claimed a greater share of total general-purpose card transactions over the 2016 to 2017 period, and the number of in-person chip-authenticated card payments also posted substantial gains. Check payments and automated teller machine (ATM) withdrawals declined by number yet increased in value.
The annual supplementary data, which were collected between the triennial Federal Reserve Payments Studies (FRPS), show that the sum of credit card, non-prepaid debit card, and prepaid debit card payments increased 11.3 billion from 112.2 billion to 123.5 billion payments by number and increased $500 billion from $6 trillion to $6.5 trillion by value from 2016 to 2017. The increase in the number of card payments in 2017 was boosted by continued strong growth in the number of card payments made remotely, including for shopping and bill paying. The number of in-person chip-authenticated card payments also recorded a noteworthy gain in 2017, increasing to 41.6 percent of all in-person general-purpose card payments. For the first time, chip-authenticated payments captured more than half of the value of in-person general-purpose card payments.
Key findings of the study include:
- Card payments continued to show robust growth from 2016 to 2017. At 10 percent, credit cards had the highest growth rate by value. Debit card payments, which made up 66.9 percent of card payments in 2017 by number, grew by 6.5 percent including 7.0 percent of increase in non-prepaid card payments and 3 percent of increase in prepaid debit card payments. In a departure from previous reporting periods, a surge was seen in the number of prepaid and non-prepaid debit card payments relative to credit card payments.
- Remote general-purpose card payments increased 22.8 percent by number from 2016 to 2017, compared with in-person payments, which grew just 7.2 percent. Over the same period, the value of remote payments increased 14.8 percent, compared with in-person payments, which increased by just 4.4 percent.
- Network automated clearinghouse (ACH) payments grew faster, with network ACH payments increasing 5.7 percent by number and 6.9 percent by value from 2016 to 2017. The growth for network ACH payments was 5.3 percent by number and 5.1 percent by value from 2015 to 2016.
- Check payments, based on a survey of the largest U.S. depository and financial institutions, showed a faster decline of 4.8 percent by number from 2016 to 2017 compared to a decline of 3.6 percent from 2015 to 2016. The value of check payments increased 7.5 percent from 2016 to 2017 after decreasing 3.7 percent from 2015 to 2016.
- ATM withdrawals, based on a survey of the largest U.S. depository and financial institutions, have declined by number and increased by value in all study periods from 2012 through 2017. From 2016 to 2017, ATM withdrawals fell 2.8 percent by number and rose 0.5 percent by value.
The Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta have reported on national aggregate volumes and trends in noncash payments in the United States since 2001. The triennial reports and the annual supplements are available at: www.federalreserve.gov/paymentsystems/fr-payments-study.htm