Choosing and using payment instruments: evidence from German microdata

Kalckreuth, Ulf; Schmidt, Tobias; Stix, Helmut
May 2014
Empirical Economics;May2014, Vol. 46 Issue 3, p1019
Academic Journal
Germans are still very fond of using cash. Of all direct payments transactions in 2008, cash accounted for an astounding 82 % in terms of number and for 58 % in terms of value. With a dataset that combines transaction information with survey data on payment behaviour of German consumers, we shed light on how individuals decide on their cash usage. We employ a two-stage empirical framework which jointly explains payment card ownership and the use of cash. Our results indicate that cash usage is compatible with systematic economic decision making. Consumers decide on the adoption of payment cards and then use available payment media according to transaction characteristics, the relative costs of cash and card usage, socio-demographic characteristics and their assessment of payment instruments' characteristics. Importantly, older consumers use significantly more cash than younger consumers. We show that this difference in payment behaviour is not attributable to age as such but largely to differences in the characteristics of older and younger consumers. This suggests that the high cash intensity of older consumers cannot fully be attributed to the role of habit or to their slow adoption to new payment technologies.


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