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The Transactions Demand for Credit Cards

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  • Johnson Kathleen W.

    (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System)

Abstract

I argue that the measure of credit card debt used by researchers has grown rapidly in part because it captures debt arising from transactions in which a credit card is used because of its advantages over other payment instruments. Increases in debt stemming from such use may not signal greater household financial vulnerability if households are willing and able to repay this short-term debt. However, it may suggest that the cost of using credit cards to pay for purchases has declined relative to other payment instruments. I conclude that had transactions demand remained at its real 1992 levels, rather than growing almost 15 percent per year, measured credit card debt would have grown a bit less than 1 percentage point slower per year between 1992 and 2001. Moreover, I show that removing transactions demand from aggregate consumer credit can alter conclusions about the relationship between credit and consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Johnson Kathleen W., 2007. "The Transactions Demand for Credit Cards," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-33, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:7:y:2007:i:1:n:16
    DOI: 10.2202/1935-1682.1411
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "Where Is The Missing Credit Card Debt? Clues And Implications," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(2), pages 249-265, June.
    2. Scott L. Fulford & Scott Schuh, 2020. "Revolving versus Convenience Use of Credit Cards: Evidence from U.S. Credit Bureau Data," Working Papers 20-12, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    3. Ryan R. Brady, 2011. "Consumer Credit, Liquidity, And The Transmission Mechanism Of Monetary Policy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(1), pages 246-263, January.
    4. Meta Brown & Andrew F. Haughwout & Donghoon Lee & Wilbert Van der Klaauw, 2011. "Do we know what we owe? A comparison of borrower- and lender-reported consumer debt," Staff Reports 523, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    5. Karen E. Dynan & Donald L. Kohn, 2007. "The rise in U.S. household indebtedness: causes and consequences," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-37, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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