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How do you pay? The role of incentives at the point-of-sale


  • Arango, Carlos
  • Huynh, Kim P.
  • Sabetti, Leonard


This paper uses discrete-choice models to quantify the role of consumer socio-economic characteristics, payment instrument attributes, and transaction features on the probability of using cash, debit card, or credit card at the point-of-sale. We use the Bank of Canada 2009 Method of Payment Survey, a two-part survey among adult Canadians containing a detailed questionnaire and a three-day shopping diary. We find that cash is still used intensively at low value transactions due to speed, merchant acceptance, and low costs. Debit and credit cards are used more frequently for higher transaction values where safety, record keeping, the ability to delay payment and credit card rewards gain prominence. We present estimates of the elasticity of using a credit card with respect to credit card rewards. Reward elasticities are a key element in understanding the impact of retail payment pricing regulation on consumer payment instrument usage and welfare. JEL Classification: E41, C35, C83

Suggested Citation

  • Arango, Carlos & Huynh, Kim P. & Sabetti, Leonard, 2011. "How do you pay? The role of incentives at the point-of-sale," Working Paper Series 1386, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20111386

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carlos Arango & Dylan Hogg & Alyssa Lee, 2012. "Why Is Cash (Still) So Entrenched? Insights from the Bank of Canada’s 2009 Methods-of-Payment Survey," Discussion Papers 12-2, Bank of Canada.
    2. Simon, John & Smith, Kylie & West, Tim, 2010. "Price incentives and consumer payment behaviour," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1759-1772, August.
    3. Carlos Arango & Varya Taylor, 2009. "The Role of Convenience and Risk in Consumers' Means of Payment," Discussion Papers 09-8, Bank of Canada.
    4. Carlos Arango & Angelika Welte, 2012. "The Bank of Canada’s 2009 Methods-of-Payment Survey: Methodology and Key Results," Discussion Papers 12-6, Bank of Canada.
    5. Ulf Von Kalckreuth & Tobias Schmidt & Helmut Stix, 2014. "Using Cash to Monitor Liquidity: Implications for Payments, Currency Demand, and Withdrawal Behavior," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 46(8), pages 1753-1786, December.
    6. Ron Borzekowski & K. Kiser Elizabeth & Ahmed Shaista, 2008. "Consumers' Use of Debit Cards: Patterns, Preferences, and Price Response," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(1), pages 149-172, February.
    7. Robin A. Prager & Mark D. Manuszak & Elizabeth K. Kiser & Ron Borzekowski, 2009. "Interchange fees and payment card networks: economics, industry developments, and policy issues," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-23, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. Borzekowski, Ron & Kiser, Elizabeth K., 2008. "The choice at the checkout: Quantifying demand across payment instruments," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 889-902, July.
    9. Scholnick, Barry & Massoud, Nadia & Saunders, Anthony & Carbo-Valverde, Santiago & Rodríguez-Fernández, Francisco, 2008. "The economics of credit cards, debit cards and ATMs: A survey and some new evidence," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1468-1483, August.
    10. Nicole Jonker & Anneke Kosse, 2009. "The impact of survey design on research outcomes: A case study of seven pilots measuring cash usage in the Netherlands," DNB Working Papers 221, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    11. Sumit Agarwal & Sujit Chakravorti & Anna Lunn, 2010. "Why do banks reward their customers to use their credit cards?," Working Paper Series WP-2010-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    12. Fumiko Hayashi & Stuart E. Weiner, 2006. "Interchange fees in Australia, the UK, and the United States : matching theory and practice," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q III, pages 75-112.
    13. Oz Shy & Zhu Wang, 2011. "Why Do Payment Card Networks Charge Proportional Fees?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1575-1590, June.
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    More about this item


    credit card rewards; discrete-choice models; retail payments;

    JEL classification:

    • E41 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Demand for Money
    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions
    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods

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