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Using cash to monitor liquidity: Implications for payments, currency demand and withdrawal behavior

  • von Kalckreuth, Ulf
  • Schmidt, Tobias
  • Stix, Helmut

Standard transaction cost arguments can only partially explain why the share of cash transactions is still high in many countries. This paper shows that consumers' desire to monitor liquidity is one of the reasons. Consumers make use of a distinctive feature of cash - a glance into one's pocket provides a signal for both the remaining budget as well as the level of past expenses. We propose a theoretical framework which incorporates this feature of cash, and derives implications not only for cash usage as such but also for a broader set of paymentrelated activities. Survey data from Germany on consumers' payment and withdrawal patterns are used to test these implications empirically. The data are consistent with all theoretical predictions: consumers who need to keep control over their remaining liquidity and who have elevated costs of information processing and storage will conduct a larger percentage of their payments using cash, hold fewer non-cash payment instruments, withdraw less often and hold larger cash balances than other consumers. Such consumers also use payment cards for some transactions; they switch to non-cash payment instruments only at higher transaction values than other consumers, however. Our model provides an explanation of why cash usage has declined only slowly in some countries despite broad diffusion of non-cash means of payment.

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Paper provided by Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre in its series Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies with number 2011,22.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:bubdp1:201122
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  1. Charles Sprenger & Joanna Stavins, 2008. "Credit card debt and payment use," Working Papers 08-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  2. Orazio P. Attanasio & Luigi Guiso & Tullio Jappelli, 2002. "The Demand for Money, Financial Innovation, and the Welfare Cost of Inflation: An Analysis with Household Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 317-351, April.
  3. John Leahy & Andrew Caplin, 2004. "The Absentminded Consumer," 2004 Meeting Papers 784, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Ching, Andrew & Hayashi, Fumiko, 2008. "Payment Card Rewards Programs and Consumer Payment Choice," MPRA Paper 8458, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Francesco Lippi & Alessandro Secchi, 2008. "Technological change and the households' demand for currency," EIEF Working Papers Series 0801, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Oct 2008.
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  9. Kocherlakota, Narayana & Wallace, Neil, 1998. "Incomplete Record-Keeping and Optimal Payment Arrangements," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 272-289, August.
  10. Jonathan Zinman, 2005. "Debit or credit?," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  11. Peter Mooslechner & Helmut Stix & Karin Wagner, 2006. "How Are Payments Made in Austria?," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 2, pages 111–134.
  12. David Bounie & Abel Francois, 2008. "Is Baumol's 'square root law' still relevant? evidence from micro-level data," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(13), pages 1091-1098.
  13. 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.).
  14. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1996. "Money is memory," Staff Report 218, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  15. Whitesell, William C, 1992. "Deposit Banks and the Market for Payment Media," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 24(4), pages 483-98, November.
  16. Carol C. Bertaut & Michael Haliassos & Michael Reiter, 2009. "Credit Card Debt Puzzles and Debt Revolvers for Self Control," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 13(4), pages 657-692.
  17. Schuh, Scott & Stavins, Joanna, 2010. "Why are (some) consumers (finally) writing fewer checks? The role of payment characteristics," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1745-1758, August.
  18. Nicole Jonker, 2007. "Payment Instruments as Perceived by Consumers – Results from a Household Survey," De Economist, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 271-303, September.
  19. Soman, Dilip, 2001. " Effects of Payment Mechanism on Spending Behavior: The Role of Rehearsal and Immediacy of Payments," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(4), pages 460-74, March.
  20. Klee, Elizabeth, 2008. "How people pay: Evidence from grocery store data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 526-541, April.
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