Payments are part of everyday life as well as a crucial element of the financial fabric of society. Over the next three months or so I will post chapters of my book, The Statistics of Payments, which focuses on the statistical aspects of payments in two different ways. It looks at payment statistics: the number and size of transactions as well as the type of instruments we use. But it also applies tools from mathematical branch known as statistics to these figures: frequency distributions, growth curves and relationships between variables. The focus of this work is on patterns and trends in the data, taking a view across countries and payment industries. This area can be thought of as a middle layer between raw data and economic analysis of causes and effects in payments. The aim is to provide a better basis for deeper analysis into underlying drivers, but also to point out gaps in the data and suggest interesting areas for further analysis. We will begin by looking at the most basic of payment instruments: cash; by far the most common payment instrument.
Download chapter 1, The Size of Cash Payments, here.