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Payday Loans and Credit Cards: New Liquidity and Credit Scoring Puzzles?

  • Sumit Agarwal
  • Paige Marta Skiba
  • Jeremy Tobacman

Using a unique dataset matched at the individual level from two administrative sources, we examine household choices between liabilities and assess the informational content of prime and subprime credit scores in the consumer credit market. First, more specifically, we assess consumers' effectiveness at prioritizing use of their lowest-cost credit option. We find that most borrowers from one payday lender who also have a credit card from a major credit card issuer have substantial credit card liquidity on the days they take out their payday loans. This is costly because payday loans have annualized interest rates of at least several hundred percent, though perhaps partly explained by the fact that borrowers have experienced substantial declines in credit card liquidity in the year leading up to the payday loan. Second, we show that FICO scores and Teletrack scores have independent information and are specialized for the types of lending where they are used. Teletrack scores have eight times the predictive power for payday loan default as FICO scores. We also show that prime lenders should value information about their borrowers' subprime activity. Taking out a payday loan predicts nearly a doubling in the probability of serious credit card delinquency over the next year.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.99.2.412
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 99 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 412-17

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:2:p:412-17
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.2.412
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Jonathan Zinman, 2005. "Debit or credit?," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  2. 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.
  3. Ron Borzekowski & Elizabeth K. Kiser, 2006. "The choice at the checkout: quantifying demand across payment instruments," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-17, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Michael A. Stegman, 2007. "Payday Lending," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 169-190, Winter.
  5. William Adams & Liran Einav & Jonathan Levin, 2007. "Liquidity Constraints and Imperfect Information in Subprime Lending," NBER Working Papers 13067, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Sumit Agarwal & Paige Marta Skiba & Jeremy Tobacman, 2009. "Payday Loans and Credit Cards: New Liquidity and Credit Scoring Puzzles?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 412-17, May.
  7. 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.
  8. Sumit Agarwal & Souphala Chomsisengphet & Chunlin Liu & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2006. "Do consumers choose the right credit contracts?," Working Paper Series WP-06-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  9. Sumit Agarwal & John C Driscoll & Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2008. "Learning in the Credit Card Market," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000002028, David K. Levine.
  10. Sumit Agarwal & Souphala Chomsisengphet & Chunlin Liu & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2010. "Benefits of relationship banking: evidence from consumer credit markets," Working Paper Series WP-2010-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
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