We examine how consumers have adjusted their payment habits during the COVID-19 pandemic. They seem to perform fewer transactions, spend more in each transaction, use less cash at the point of sale and withdraw cash from ATMs linked to their financial institution more often than from other ATMs.
Distributional Effects of Payment Card Pricing and Merchant Cost Pass-through in Canada and the United StatesAlthough credit cards are more expensive for merchants to accept than cash or debit cards, merchants typically pass through their costs evenly to all customers. Along with consumer card rewards and banking fees, this creates cross-subsidies between payment methods. Because higher-income individuals tend to use credit cards more than those with lower incomes, our results indicate that these cross-subsidies might lead to regressive distributional effects.