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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. Ron Borzekowski & Elizabeth K. Kiser, 2006. "The choice at the checkout: quantifying demand across payment instruments," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-17, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  16. Nicole Jonker, 2007. "Payment Instruments as Perceived by Consumers – Results from a Household Survey," De Economist, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 271-303, September.
  17. Helmut Stix, 2004. "How Do Debit Cards Affect Cash Demand? Survey Data Evidence," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 93-115, June.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
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  21. 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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