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Credit card debt and payment use

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  • Charles Sprenger
  • Joanna Stavins
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    Abstract

    Approximately half of credit card holders in the United States regularly carry unpaid credit card debt. These so-called "revolvers" exhibit payment behavior that differs from that of those who repay their entire credit card balance every month. Previous literature has focused on the adoption of debit cards by people who carry credit card balances, but so far there has been no empirical analysis exploring the relationship between revolving behavior and patterns of payment use, such as substitution away from credit cards to other payment methods. ; Using data collected in the 2005 Survey of Consumer Payment Preferences, we explore the relationship between revolving credit card balances and payment use. We find that credit card revolvers are significantly more likely to use debit and less likely to use credit than convenience users who repay their balances each month. There is no significant difference between these two types of credit card users in their use of check or cash. The two groups differ in their perceptions of payments as well as in their payment behavior: revolvers are significantly less likely to view debit as superior with respect to ease of use and acceptability, but more likely to see debit as superior with respect to control over money and budgeting.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Working Papers with number 08-2.

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    Date of creation: 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:08-2

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    Keywords: Consumer credit ; Debit cards ; Credit cards ; Consumer behavior;

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    References

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    1. Irina A. Telyukova & Randall Wright, 2008. "A Model of Money and Credit, with Application to the Credit Card Debt Puzzle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(2), pages 629-647.
    2. Paul S. Calem & Loretta J. Mester, . "Consumer Behavior and the Stickiness of CreditCard Interest Rates," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 03-94, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
    3. Calem, Paul S. & Gordy, Michael B. & Mester, Loretta J., 2006. "Switching costs and adverse selection in the market for credit cards: New evidence," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1653-1685, June.
    4. Andrew Ching & Fumiko Hayashi, 2006. "Payment card rewards programs and consumer payment choice," Payments System Research Working Paper PSR WP 06-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    5. David B. Gross & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2001. "Do Liquidity Constraints and Interest Rates Matter for Consumer Behavior? Evidence from Credit Card Data," NBER Working Papers 8314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Brian Mantel, 2000. "Why do consumers pay bills electronically? an empirical analysis," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q IV, pages 32-48.
    7. Zinman, Jonathan, 2009. "Debit or credit?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 358-366, February.
    8. Joanna Stavins, 2000. "Credit card borrowing, delinquency, and personal bankruptcy," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jul, pages 15-30.
    9. Stephan Meier & Charles Sprenger, 2007. "Impatience and credit behavior: evidence from a field experiment," Working Papers 07-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    10. Ausubel, Lawrence M, 1991. "The Failure of Competition in the Credit Card Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 50-81, March.
    11. Nicole Jonker, 2005. "Payment Instruments as Perceived by Consumers - a Public Survey," DNB Working Papers 053, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    12. Brito, Dagobert L & Hartley, Peter R, 1995. "Consumer Rationality and Credit Cards," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 400-433, April.
    13. Drazen Prelec & George Loewenstein, 1998. "The Red and the Black: Mental Accounting of Savings and Debt," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 17(1), pages 4-28.
    14. Michelle J. White, 2007. "Bankruptcy Reform and Credit Cards," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 175-200, Fall.
    15. Hirschman, Elizabeth C, 1982. "Consumer Payment Systems: The Relationship of Attribute Structure to Preference and Usage," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(4), pages 531-45, October.
    16. David Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 2000. "A Debt Puzzle," Documentos de Trabajo 80, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
    17. Elizabeth Klee, 2006. "Families' use of payment instruments during a decade of change in the U.S. payment system," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-01, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    18. Michelle J. White, 2007. "Bankruptcy Reform and Credit Cards," NBER Working Papers 13265, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:
    1. von Kalckreuth, Ulf & Schmidt, Tobias & Stix, Helmut, 2011. "Using cash to monitor liquidity: Implications for payments, currency demand and withdrawal behavior," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2011,22, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
    2. Anneke Kosse & David-Jan Jansen, 2011. "Choosing how to pay: the influence of home country habits," DNB Working Papers 328, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    3. John Simon & Kylie Smith & Tim West, 2009. "Price Incentives and Consumer Payment Behaviour," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2009-04, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    4. Schuh, Scott & Stavins, Joanna, 2010. "Why are (some) consumers (finally) writing fewer checks? The role of payment characteristics," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1745-1758, August.
    5. Wang, Lili & Lu, Wei & Malhotra, Naresh K., 2011. "Demographics, attitude, personality and credit card features correlate with credit card debt: A view from China," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 179-193, February.
    6. Berg, Nathan & Kim, Jeong-Yoo, 2010. "Demand for Self Control: A model of Consumer Response to Programs and Products that Moderate Consumption," MPRA Paper 26593, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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