Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access



First Advisor

Zachary Rodriguez




Financial Crisis, Crisis, COVID-19, Economy, Payment Choice


The aim of this thesis is to delve into the machinations of consumer payment choices during times of crisis. This thesis, additionally, examines the ways in which gender may play a role in varied payment method use, during crises. Consumer payment choices are characterized by the decisions individuals or households make, surrounding their utilization of various payment instruments in circulation. Common payment instruments include, but are not limited to, cash, checks, debit, and credit. Existing research and literature of payment choice split trends on the utilization of payment instruments into long-term, adoption observations, and more sporadic, use categories. Adoption and use of payment methods, individually, help to paint a clearer picture of the changes and continuities in how consumers interact with various payment methods, over time. Analyzing consumer payment choice, and how it may differ across genders, provides valuable insight on how the state of the economy impacts regular and long-term consumption and transaction patterns. Although the bottom line is that most crises cause inevitable shocks to consumption-related behaviors, the nature of the crisis in question plays an integral role in the extent and ways in which consumption is ultimately altered. Examining both the financial crisis that occurred from 2007 to 2009, and the 2019-2020 COVID health crisis in this thesis, provides two disparate natures of crises that result in devastation to economic conditions, and altered consumption patterns. A review of the literature reveals that employment, or the lack thereof, during times of economic downturn, plays a role in the net changes in consumer payment behaviors. Employment is what shapes income levels, which can either restrict or enable certain consumers from utilizing, or acquiring, certain payment methods. The financial crisis was revealed to have more impacts on male employment, while the COVID crisis impacted female employment more heavily. Analysis of gender provides a unique vantage point for looking at payment decisions, aside from observing general trends that exist for adoption and use of differing payment instruments. This analysis expands on literature on consumer payment behavior through the observation of cross-sectional survey data, reflecting measures of adoption and use of payment methods in years of, and after, the onset of both crises in question. Apart from observing the interactions that a range of explanatory variables have on either the adoption or use of commonly used payment methods, assessment characteristics of each payment method (i.e. convenience, or ease of use) will also be analyzed to better understand consumer perceptions of payment instruments being utilized. I intend to use these observations to find points of both similarity and differentiation in payment behaviors between financial and health crises, with additional consideration being placed on gender-based implications on payment instrument adoption and use. Data for this thesis will be extracted from Atlanta Fed's Survey of Consumer Payment Choice (SCPC), which provides yearly data geared toward observing changes in payment preferences over time.



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