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Take On Payments, a blog sponsored by the Retail Payments Risk Forum of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, is intended to foster dialogue on emerging risks in retail payment systems and enhance collaborative efforts to improve risk detection and mitigation. We encourage your active participation in Take on Payments and look forward to collaborating with you.

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November 2, 2020

Payments in the Time of COVID: November 19 Webinar

Chatting with my mother-in-law about shopping online for groceries: "Your father-in-law ordered five bananas. We got five bunches. I'm making lots of banana bread."

Perhaps you have experienced the surprises of online shopping for food: Chocolate-covered peanuts instead of raisins. One apple instead of one bag of apples. And like my mother-in-law, unexpected baking opportunities.

Maybe you have experienced the joys of online shopping for food: Placing an order from bed. Avoiding the 10 percent kid tax when your shopping assistant begs for some grocery novelty. Unexpected baked goods.

The anecdotal evidence above implies that the prevalence of in-person shopping is changing. Many of us have become more flexible about grocery shopping, with less desire to individually examine every pepper or loaf of bread in the age of COVID.

Like our personal experiences, recent data collected for the Survey and Diary of Consumer Payment Choice also imply a shift in in-person shopping for goods and services. For example, in October 2019, 96 percent of consumers reported making an in-person payment at least once in a typical month. In April and May 2020, during the pandemic shutdown, just 34 percent of consumers had made an in-person payment at least once in the prior 30 or 60 days. (The particular time period depended on when respondents answered the question, which began, "Since March 10, 2020....")

However you do your shopping, I hope you'll join me and Kevin Foster from the Atlanta Fed alongside Shaun O'Brien from the Cash Product Office at the San Francisco Fed for the next Talk About Payments webinar, November 19, 2020, at 1 p.m. (ET). We'll look at pre- and during-pandemic data from the Survey and Diary of Consumer Payment Choice to get an understanding of how consumer payments behavior has changed. Are we shopping in person? When we do shop in person, how do we pay? We also will examine the jump in U.S. currency in circulation beginning in March and consumers' holdings of cash during COVID.

This webinar is open to the public but you must register in advance to participate. (Registration is free.) You can register onlineOff-site link. Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email with login and call-in information. We hope you will join us on November 19 where you will have an opportunity to ask questions about the results of the research.

P.S. Last week on Thursday, the Federal Reserve released detailed data about noncash payments in the United States from 2012 to 2018Off-site link. This data release provides detailed allocations of aggregate data from the 2019 Federal Reserve Payments Study, previously reported in December 2019. A spreadsheet with 11 tabs for accounts, cards, and payment instrument use as well as a release note describing the data sources and allocations are included.