The Federal Reserve has commissioned a two-phased national study this year to gather information on retail payment volumes, attitudes and trends. In the first phase, the Fed hired Payment Technologies Inc. (PTI) to conduct a search of all existing studies and literature and prepare a report summarizing the findings. The full results of the first phase will be released later this summer, but preliminary results, released in May, show that all payment types are growing and that electronic payments of all forms are on the upswing.
PTI examined nearly all types of retail payments and found a number of trends. Following are summaries of some of the payment methods studied:
The second phase of the study, a quantitative survey of consumers, businesses and financial institutions, will take place this fall. That phase will be designed to fill in the knowledge gaps and answer questions still pending about retail payments. The entire study was commissioned in the wake of the Fed's 1997 review, led by Vice Chair Alice Rivlin, of its role in the payments system.