The U.S. Federal Reserve Board plans to get a better idea of how Americans are making payments — when they don’t use cash.

The Reserve’s Retail Payments Office will conduct a major study regarding the use of electronic and check payments. The agency carries out the study every three years.

The research will consist of three surveys designed to estimate the annual number, dollar value and types of retail non-cash payments in the U.S., the Federal Reserve says in a press release.

The payments office states previous studies revealed significant changes in the system over time, including a continuing decline in the use of paper checks and growth in electronic payments, such as automated clearinghouse, e-banking transactions and plastic cards.

The 2010 study revealed the number of non-cash payments in the U.S. increased 4.6% per year between 2006 and 2009. In 2009, more than three-quarters of all these non-cash payments were made electronically, with around 20 billion more e-payments made that year than in 2006, a 9.3% annual increase.

“The 2013 study will provide additional data on electronic payment methods, cash deposit and withdrawal information and, for the first time, limited third-party fraud information, in an effort to provide the industry with further insight on emerging trends,” Jim McKee, senior vice president of the Retail Payments Office, states in the release.

Federal Reserve Bank leaders at a Chicago payments symposium in October called for a stronger Federal Reserve role in shaping the future of payments, particularly in light of emerging technologies and growing mobile payments offerings.

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