Consumer Electronic Payments Continue to Rise


The Fed released a study yesterday showing that consumer electronic payments have increased from 2/3 of all non-cash payments in 2006 to 3/4 of all US non-cash payments in 2009.  This represents a 9.3% annual increase.  They point out that this growth is reflective of consumers’ increasing adoption of electronic alternatives for payments.

They also pointed out that the check collection system has rapidly been electronified.  The percentage of bank-to-bank check clearing via images has increased from 47% to 96%.  That is why practically all the checks that enter the banking system end up being truncated and destroyed.  These check images or “substitute checks” or “IRDs” (Image Replacement Documents) are the legal equivalent of the original.  That is why you don’t get an original check sent back to you when you deposit a NSF check from one of your clients.  The bank provides you an IRD.

The largest increase of any payment type during the study period was the use of debit cards which increased by 12.8 billion, representing a 14.8% annual growth rate.  Debit card transactions in 2009 numbered 37.9 billion. 

Other interesting statistics:

Check Payments

  • Number of checks paid: 24.4 billion
  • Value: $31.6 trillion
  • Annual rate of decrease in transactions from 2006 to 2009: 7.2 percent

Electronic Payments

  • Number of electronic payments: 84.5 billion
  • Value: $40.7 trillion
  • Annual growth rate of transactions from 2006 to 2009: 9.3 percent

ACH Transactions

    • Number of ACH payments: 19.1 billion
    • Value: $37.2 trillion
    • Annual growth rate of transactions from 2006 to 2009: 9.3 percent

Credit Cards

    • Number of credit card payments: 21.6 billion
    • Value: $1.9 trillion
    • Annual rate of decrease in transactions from 2006 to 2009: 0.2 percent

Debit Cards

    • Number of debit card payments: 37.9 billion
    • Value: $1.5 trillion
    • Annual growth rate of transactions from 2006 to 2009: 14.8 percent

Prepaid Cards

    • Number of prepaid card payments transactions: 6.0 billion
    • Value: $0.1 trillion
    • Annual growth rate of transactions from 2006 to 2009: 21.5 percent

ATM Withdrawals

  • Number of ATM cash withdrawals: 6.0 billion
  • Value: $0.6 trillion
  • Annual growth rate of transactions from 2006 to 2009: 0.8 percent
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