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Why do many consumers prefer to pay now when they could pay later?

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  • Arvind Agrawal
  • James W. Gentry

Abstract

Payment timing is conceptualized as a payment characteristic useful in explaining motivations to prefer payment types. Cash, debit cards, and online banking represent consumers' preferences to pay now, while credit cards and loans represent the inclination to pay later. Based on a grounded theory study, a payment‐timing model is developed to theorize consumers' choices of payment types with differences in payment timing. The model presents four motivations for payment‐timing preferences: (1) the extent of rewards salience, (2) the perception of financial stress, (3) adopting heuristics for money management, and (4) the influence of perceived financial ability. Consumers choose payment‐timing options that best suit their financial strategy to manage payments in pursuit of their consumption objectives.

Suggested Citation

  • Arvind Agrawal & James W. Gentry, 2020. "Why do many consumers prefer to pay now when they could pay later?," Journal of Consumer Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2), pages 607-627, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jconsa:v:54:y:2020:i:2:p:607-627
    DOI: 10.1111/joca.12292
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/joca.12292
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