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Preferences for banking and payment services among low- and moderate-income households

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  • Michael S. Barr
  • Jane K. Dokko
  • Eleanor M. Feit
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    Abstract

    This paper characterizes the features of an account-based payment card--including bank debit cards, prepaid debit cards, and payroll cards--that elicit a high take-rate among low- and moderate-income (LMI) households, particularly those without bank accounts. We apply marketing research techniques, specifically choice modeling, to identify the design of a specific financial services product for LMI households, who often face difficulties maintaining standard bank accounts but need banking services. After monthly cost, we find that, on average, non-monetary features of a payment card, such as the availability of federal protection and the type of card, are factors LMI consumers weigh most heavily when choosing among differently designed payment cards. We estimate a high take rate for a well-designed payment card that is decreasing in its cost. The sensitivity of the take-rate with respect to cost varies by income and bank account ownership. These results can guide private and public sector initiatives to expand the range of financial services available to LMI households.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2011-13.

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    Date of creation: 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2011-13

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    Keywords: Debit cards ; Credit cards ; Payment systems ; Consumer protection;

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    1. David Humphrey & Moshe Kim & Bent Vale, 1998. "Realizing the gains from electronic payments: costs, pricing, and payment choice," Proceedings 586, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    2. Nava Ashraf & Dean S. Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2005. "Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence from a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," Working Papers 917, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    3. Ana M. Aizcorbe & Arthur B. Kennickell & Kevin B. Moore, 2003. "Recent changes in U.S. family finances: evidence from the 1998 and 2001 Survey of Consumer Finances," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-32.
    4. Ron Borzekowski & Elizabeth K. Kiser & Shaista Ahmed, 2006. "Consumers' use of debit cards: patterns, preferences, and price response," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-16, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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