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Apr 6 -- The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System invites comments by June 6, 2022 regarding its intention to renew the Federal Reserve Payments Study for three years.

The Federal Reserve Payments Study (FRPS) is supported by the following surveys: Depository and Financial Institutions Payments Survey (FR 3066a) and Networks, Processors, and Issuers Payments Surveys (FR 3066b).

The FRPS collects information from organizations with a significant role in processing payments, including depository and financial institutions, general-purpose payment networks, third-party payment processors, issuers of private-label payment instruments, and providers of various alternative payment methods and systems and help to support the Federal Reserve System's (Federal Reserve's) role in the payments system. The FR 3066a and FR 3066b consist of a full set of surveys every three years and smaller versions of the surveys (fewer surveys, questions, or respondents) in each year between. The FRPS publishes aggregate estimates of noncash payment volumes, cash deposits and withdrawals, and related information derived from the surveys.

The Board proposes to revise the FRPS by structuring it as a partially ad hoc collection to improve its ability to collect relevant information in response to changing conditions in payments markets by streamlining the ability to add, remove, or modify survey items and respondents based on the Federal Reserve's information needs. Under the proposed revisions, the FRPS would contain the same core substantive questions asked on prior FRPS surveys, which would generally remain consistent from year to year. However, questions could be added, modified, or removed from year to year based on the Federal Reserve's information needs.

The FR 3066a and FR 3066b are part of the latest iteration of the FRPS, which has been a collaborative effort of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (FRB Atlanta) and the Board since 2000. The FRPS originated from a Federal Reserve System-wide effort to improve the measurement and public availability of information on volumes and trends in checks and other noncash payments. The FRPS filled a significant gap in quantitative information on U.S. noncash payments by providing a reliable and transparent non-mandatory approach to surveying payment institutions, constructing U.S. domestic total estimates from the survey data, and publishing them. The focus of the surveys has adapted to the substantial evolution and growth in emerging and innovative payment types over time, as well as the refreshed strategic direction of Federal Reserve Financial Services. The strategic direction includes a focus on meeting the evolving needs of payment system users for end-to-end payment speed, efficiency, and security, while remaining true to a longstanding financial services mission to foster the integrity, efficiency, and accessibility of the U.S. payment system. The Retail Payments Risk Forum (RPRF) at FRB Atlanta and the Payment System Studies section at the Board jointly conduct the study using experienced contractors that engage respondents and collect and deliver survey data according to the survey design requirements set by the Federal Reserve.  

Surveys in previous years received robust industry support and participation, and the aggregate estimates produced from the survey data are widely cited in academic working papers, journal articles, and industry publications, reported in the media, and used by the public, industry, and policy makers as a quantitative aggregate benchmark of noncash payments and cash withdrawal and deposit activity in the United States. As the noncash payments system grows larger and more complex, the Board expects the data collected under the FRPS to play a crucial role in objectively maintaining and updating quantitative information on the U.S. noncash payments system. The information collected through the FRPS is not available from other sources.

The FRPS gathers information that is used by Board staff to estimate the aggregate number and value of all noncash payments, as well as cash withdrawals and deposits and cash payments made by U.S. consumers and businesses, including for-profit and not-for-profit enterprises, and federal, state, and local government agencies.  

FR 3066a. The FR 3066a collects the number and value of noncash payments, cash withdrawals and deposits, third-party payments fraud, and related information from a nationally representative sample of commercial banks, savings institutions, and credit unions. It is a single survey that follows a three-year cycle and is divided into sections corresponding to payment types. In the first of three years, the Federal Reserve requests survey participation from a nationally representative stratified random sample of depository institutions. The full survey is administered to large institutions, while shorter versions are administered to smaller institutions. In the second and third years, a shorter version of the survey is administered to large depository institutions.   

FR 3066b. The 3066b is a set of surveys that collect the number and value of electronic payments, payments fraud, and related information from a census of major card networks, payment processors, and card issuers. The surveys’ content varies for the different types of payment processors that are respondents for the FR 3066b. In the first of three years, surveys are administered for all payment types and processors covered by the FR 3066b. In the second and third years, surveys are administered only for some payment types, depending on information needs.

The FR 3066a panel comprises depository institutions that offer transaction deposit accounts, prepaid card program accounts, and credit card accounts to consumer, business, and government customers, including depository institutions that issue general-purpose credit cards but do not accept consumer deposits.
 
The FR 3066b panel comprises general-purpose credit card networks; private-label credit card merchant issuers; private-label credit card processors; general-purpose debit card networks; general-purpose prepaid card networks; automated teller machine card networks; generalpurpose prepaid card processors; electronic benefits transfer card processors; private-label prepaid card issuers and processors; P2P and money transfer processors; online bill payment processors; walk-in bill payment processors; private-label ACH debit card processors; toll collection processors; online payment authentication methods processors; mobile wallet processors; and transit system operators.

Federal Reserve Payments Study webpage: https://www.federalreserve.gov/paymentsystems/fr-payments-study.htm
Draft Federal Reserve Payments Study technical documentation: https://www.federalreserve.gov/reportforms/formsreview/FR%203066%20OMB%20SS%202022.pdf
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-07220

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