Tracking the COVID-19 crisis with high-resolution transaction data.
Payments systems generate vast amounts of naturally occurring transaction data rarely used for constructing official statistics. We consider billions of transactions from card data from a large bank, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, as an alternative source of information for measuring consumption. We show, via validation against official consumption measures, that transaction data complements national accounts and consumption surveys. We then analyse the impact of COVID-19 in Spain, and document: (i) strong consumption responses to business closures, but smaller effects for capacity restrictions; (ii) a steeper decline in spending in rich neighbourhoods; (iii) higher mobility for residents of lower-income neighbourhoods, correlating with increased disease incidence.
Economic and Social Research Council (ES/R009295/1)