IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jfinec/v131y2019i3p528-548.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Minimum payments and debt paydown in consumer credit cards

Author

Listed:
  • Keys, Benjamin J.
  • Wang, Jialan

Abstract

Using a data set covering one quarter of the U.S. general-purpose credit card market, we document that 29% of accounts regularly make payments at or near the minimum payment. To explain the prevalence of low payment amounts, we exploit changes in issuers’ minimum payment formulas to quantify the explanatory power of two potential theories: liquidity constraints and anchoring. At least 22% of near-minimum payers (and 9% of all accounts) respond to the formula changes in a manner consistent with anchoring as opposed to liquidity constraints alone. Our results show that anchoring to a salient contractual term has a significant impact on household repayment decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Keys, Benjamin J. & Wang, Jialan, 2019. "Minimum payments and debt paydown in consumer credit cards," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(3), pages 528-548.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:131:y:2019:i:3:p:528-548
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2018.09.009
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304405X18302721
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.jfineco.2018.09.009?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Irina A. Telyukova, 2013. "Household Need for Liquidity and the Credit Card Debt Puzzle," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 80(3), pages 1148-1177.
    2. John Y. Campbell, 2016. "Restoring Rational Choice: The Challenge of Consumer Financial Regulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 1-30, May.
    3. Christopher R. Knittel & Victor Stango, 2003. "Price Ceilings as Focal Points for Tacit Collusion: Evidence from Credit Cards," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1703-1729, December.
    4. Xavier Gabaix, 2014. "A Sparsity-Based Model of Bounded Rationality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 129(4), pages 1661-1710.
    5. Deaton, Angus, 1991. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1221-1248, September.
    6. David B. Gross & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2002. "Do Liquidity Constraints and Interest Rates Matter for Consumer Behavior? Evidence from Credit Card Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 117(1), pages 149-185.
    7. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2003. "Optimal Defaults," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 180-185, May.
    8. Sumit Agarwal & Souphala Chomsisengphet & Neale Mahoney & Johannes Stroebel, 2015. "Regulating Consumer Financial Products: Evidence from Credit Cards," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 130(1), pages 111-164.
    9. Laibson, David, 1998. "Life-cycle consumption and hyperbolic discount functions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 861-871, May.
    10. Paul Heidhues & Botond Koszegi, 2010. "Exploiting Naivete about Self-Control in the Credit Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2279-2303, December.
    11. Theresa Kuchler & Michaela Pagel, 2018. "Sticking to Your Plan: The Role of Present Bias for Credit Card Paydown," NBER Working Papers 24881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Alan Beggs & Kathryn Graddy, 2009. "Anchoring Effects: Evidence from Art Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 1027-1039, June.
    13. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson & Guillermo Moloche & Stephen Weinberg, 2006. "Costly Information Acquisition: Experimental Analysis of a Boundedly Rational Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1043-1068, September.
    14. d’Astous, Philippe & Shore, Stephen H., 2017. "Liquidity Constraints and Credit Card Delinquency: Evidence from Raising Minimum Payments," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(4), pages 1705-1730, August.
    15. Laibson, David I. & Agarwal, Sumit & Driscoll, John C. & Gabaix, Xavier, 2009. "The Age of Reason: Financial Decisions over the Life-Cycle with Implications for Regulation," Scholarly Articles 4554335, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    16. Choi, James J. & Haisley, Emily & Kurkoski, Jennifer & Massey, Cade, 2017. "Small cues change savings choices," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 378-395.
    17. Greg Kaplan & Giovanni L. Violante & Justin Weidner, 2014. "The Wealthy Hand-to-Mouth," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 48(1 (Spring), pages 77-153.
    18. Stango, Victor, 2003. "Strategic Responses to Regulatory Threat in the Credit Card Market," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 427-452, October.
    19. Peter Debbaut & Andra Ghent & Marianna Kudlyak, 2016. "The CARD Act and Young Borrowers: The Effects and the Affected," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 48(7), pages 1495-1513, October.
    20. Gabriel D. Carroll & James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2009. "Optimal Defaults and Active Decisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 124(4), pages 1639-1674.
    21. Jambulapati, Vikram & Stavins, Joanna, 2014. "Credit CARD Act of 2009: What did banks do?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 21-30.
    22. Sumit Agarwal & John C. Driscoll & Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2009. "The Age of Reason: Financial Decisions over the Life Cycle and Implications for Regulation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(2 (Fall)), pages 51-117.
    23. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Søren Leth-Petersen & Torben Heien Nielsen & Tore Olsen, 2014. "Active vs. Passive Decisions and Crowd-Out in Retirement Savings Accounts: Evidence from Denmark," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 129(3), pages 1141-1219.
    24. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1989. "Consumption, Income, and Interest Rates: Reinterpreting the Time Series Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 185-246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    25. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2001. "Defined Contribution Pensions: Plan Rules, Participant Decisions, and the Path of Least Resistance," NBER Working Papers 8655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    26. Jonathan Zinman, 2015. "Household Debt: Facts, Puzzles, Theories, and Policies," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 251-276, August.
    27. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
    28. Greg Kaplan & Giovanni L. Violante, 2014. "A Model of the Consumption Response to Fiscal Stimulus Payments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(4), pages 1199-1239, July.
    29. Alejandro Ponce & Enrique Seira & Guillermo Zamarripa, 2017. "Borrowing on the Wrong Credit Card? Evidence from Mexico," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(4), pages 1335-1361, April.
    30. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    31. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2001. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 116(4), pages 1149-1187.
    32. Marianne Bertrand & Adair Morse, 2011. "Information Disclosure, Cognitive Biases, and Payday Borrowing," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(6), pages 1865-1893, December.
    33. Keys, Benjamin J. & Wang, Jialan, 2019. "Minimum payments and debt paydown in consumer credit cards," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(3), pages 528-548.
    34. Fumio Hayashi, 1985. "The Effect of Liquidity Constraints on Consumption: A Cross-Sectional Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 100(1), pages 183-206.
    35. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2002. "Defined Contribution Pensions: Plan Rules, Participant Choices, and the Path of Least Resistance," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 16, pages 67-114, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    36. John Beshears & James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2009. "The Importance of Default Options for Retirement Saving Outcomes: Evidence from the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment, pages 167-195, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    37. Song Han & Benjamin J. Keys & Geng Li, 2018. "Unsecured Credit Supply, Credit Cycles, and Regulation," The Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 31(3), pages 1184-1217.
    38. Greg Kaplan & Giovanni L. Violante & Justin Weidner, 2014. "The Wealthy Hand-to-Mouth," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 45(1 (Spring), pages 77-153.
    39. 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.
    40. Uri Simonsohn & George Loewenstein, 2006. "Mistake #37: The Effect of Previously Encountered Prices on Current Housing Demand," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 175-199, January.
    41. George-Marios Angeletos, 2001. "The Hyberbolic Consumption Model: Calibration, Simulation, and Empirical Evaluation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 47-68, Summer.
    42. Sumit Agarwal & Souphala Chomsisengphet & Chunlin Liu, 2010. "The Importance of Adverse Selection in the Credit Card Market: Evidence from Randomized Trials of Credit Card Solicitations," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(4), pages 743-754, June.
    43. Victor Stango & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "Exponential Growth Bias and Household Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(6), pages 2807-2849, December.
    44. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
    45. Lei Ding & Roberto G. Quercia & Carolina K. Reid & Alan M. White, 2012. "The Impact of Federal Preemption of State Antipredatory Lending Laws on the Foreclosure Crisis," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(2), pages 367-387, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Francisco Gomes & Michael Haliassos & Tarun Ramadorai, 2021. "Household Finance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 59(3), pages 919-1000, September.
    2. Keane, M.P. & Thorp, S., 2016. "Complex Decision Making," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, in: Piggott, John & Woodland, Alan (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 661-709, Elsevier.
    3. Paul Adams & Benedict Guttman‐Kenney & Lucy Hayes & Stefan Hunt & David Laibson & Neil Stewart, 2022. "Do Nudges Reduce Borrowing and Consumer Confusion in the Credit Card Market?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 89(S1), pages 178-199, June.
    4. Paolina C. Medina & Jose L. Negrin, 2022. "The Hidden Role of Contract Terms: The Case of Credit Card Minimum Payments in Mexico," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 68(5), pages 3856-3877, May.
    5. Mitchell, O.S. & Piggott, J., 2016. "Workplace-Linked Pensions for an Aging Demographic," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, in: Piggott, John & Woodland, Alan (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 865-904, Elsevier.
    6. Yiwei Dou & Geng Li & Joshua Ronen, 2019. "Does Price Regulation Affect Competition? Evidence from Credit Card Solicitations," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2019-018, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    7. Michael P. Keane & Susan Thorp, 2016. "Complex Decision Making: The Roles of Cognitive Limitations, Cognitive Decline and Ageing," Economics Papers 2016-W10, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    8. Kuchler, Theresa & Pagel, Michaela, 2021. "Sticking to your plan: The role of present bias for credit card paydown," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 139(2), pages 359-388.
    9. John Y. Campbell, 2016. "Restoring Rational Choice: The Challenge of Consumer Financial Regulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 1-30, May.
    10. Choi, James J. & Haisley, Emily & Kurkoski, Jennifer & Massey, Cade, 2017. "Small cues change savings choices," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 378-395.
    11. Suting Hong & Robert M. Hunt & Konstantinos Serfes, 2023. "Dynamic Pricing of Credit Cards and the Effects of Regulation," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 64(1), pages 81-131, August.
    12. Beshears, John & Choi, James J. & Laibson, David & Madrian, Brigitte C., 2008. "How are preferences revealed?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1787-1794, August.
    13. Johannes Hagen & Daniel Hallberg & Gabriella Sjögren, 2022. "A Nudge to Quit? The Effect of a Change in Pension Information on Annuitisation, Labour Supply and Retirement Choices Among Older Workers," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 132(643), pages 1060-1094.
    14. Xavier Gabaix, 2017. "Behavioral Inattention," NBER Working Papers 24096, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Esteban García-Miralles & Jonathan M. Leganza, 2024. "Public Pensions and Private Savings," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 366-405, May.
    16. Bruno Ferman, 2016. "Reading the Fine Print: Information Disclosure in the Brazilian Credit Card Market," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(12), pages 3534-3548, December.
    17. Sumit Agarwal & Souphala Chomsisengphet & Chunlin Liu & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2015. "Do Consumers Choose the Right Credit Contracts?," The Review of Corporate Finance Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 4(2), pages 239-257.
    18. Tyrowicz, Joanna, 2020. "Are incentivized old-age savings schemes effective under incomplete rationality?," VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics 224526, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    19. Joanna Tyrowicz & Krzysztof Makarski & Artur Rutkowski, 2020. "Fiscal incentives to pension savings – are they efficient?," Working Paper series 20-06, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    20. Lukas, Moritz & Nöth, Markus, 2022. "Voluntary minimum repayments and borrower heterogeneity: Evidence from revolving consumer credit," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 135(C).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Anchoring; Liquidity constraints; Credit cards; Consumer finance; Minimum payments;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:131:y:2019:i:3:p:528-548. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505576 .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.