IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Nothing is free: a survey of the social cost of the main payment instruments in Hungary


  • Anikó Turján

    () (Magyar Nemzeti Bank (central bank of Hungary))

  • Éva Divéki

    () (Magyar Nemzeti Bank (central bank of Hungary))

  • Éva Keszy-Harmath

    (Magyar Nemzeti Bank (central bank of Hungary))

  • Gergely Kóczán

    () (Magyar Nemzeti Bank (central bank of Hungary))

  • Kristóf Takács

    () (Magyar Nemzeti Bank (central bank of Hungary))


The study applies two approaches for the estimation of the social costs of main payment instruments (cash, debit card and credit card transactions, credit transfers, direct debits, business-to-business direct debits, postal inpayment money orders, postal outpayment money orders for pensions) used in Hungary in 2009. The first approach is based on the current payment structure, while the second approach is based on a more modern, hypothetical payment structure involving less cash, with no use of paper-based methods. In the first approach, the social cost amounts to HUF 388 billion, i.e. 1.49% of the GDP, while in the second approach, such cost amounts to HUF 285 billion, i.e. 1.09% of the GDP. In this context, social cost means the use of all resources (time, materials and money) necessary for the execution of payments, calculated as a net value (i.e. exclusive of fees paid for payment services). Thus, HUF 103 billion could be saved in social costs if the use of payment instruments were to be modified.

Suggested Citation

  • Anikó Turján & Éva Divéki & Éva Keszy-Harmath & Gergely Kóczán & Kristóf Takács, 2011. "Nothing is free: a survey of the social cost of the main payment instruments in Hungary," MNB Occasional Papers 2011/93, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary).
  • Handle: RePEc:mnb:opaper:2011/93

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Schmiedel, Heiko & Bolt, Wilko & Foote, Elizabeth, 2011. "Consumer credit and payment cards," Working Paper Series 1387, European Central Bank.
    2. Jakub Gorka, 2011. "Payment instruments - calculating costs and benefits (Instrumenty platnicze - wycena kosztow i korzysci)," Problemy Zarzadzania, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, vol. 9(34), pages 165-182.
    3. Bouhdaoui, Y. & Bounie, D. & Van Hove, L., 2013. "When do plastic bills lower the bill for the central bank? A model and estimates for the U.S," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 45-60.
    4. Jakub Gorka, 2012. "Synthesis of studies on costs of cash and non-cash payment instruments (Synteza badan kosztow gotowki i bezgotowkowych instrumentow platniczych )," Problemy Zarzadzania, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, vol. 10(39), pages 223-241.
    5. Nicole Jonker, 2013. "Social costs of POS payments in the Netherlands 2002-2012: Efficiency gains from increased debit card usage," DNB Occasional Studies 1102, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.

    More about this item


    private cost; social cost; net private cost; unit cost; social savings; cash transactions; debit card transactions; credit card transactions; paper-based credit transfers; electronic credit transfers; direct debits; business-to-business direct debits; postal inpayment money orders; postal outpayment money orders for pensions;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mnb:opaper:2011/93. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lorant Kaszab). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.