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Economic Commentary

A Beginner's Guide to the U.S. Payments System

High living standards depend critically on many types of infrastructure—bom technological and institutional — that few fully comprehend. The payments system, the means by which funds are transferred between economic agents, is one such critical support.

The views authors express in Economic Commentary are theirs and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The series editor is Tasia Hane. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. This paper and its data are subject to revision; please visit for updates.

Suggested Citation

Bauer, Paul. 1994. “A Beginner's Guide to the U.S. Payments System.” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Commentary 7/1/1994.