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Remembering to Pay? Reminders vs. Financial Incentives for Loan Payments

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  • Ximena Cadena
  • Antoinette Schoar

Abstract

We report the results from a field experiment with a micro lender in Uganda to test the effectiveness of privately implemented incentives for loan repayment. Using a randomized control trial we measure the impact of three different treatments: Borrowers are either given a lump sum cash reward upon completion of the loan (equivalent to a 25% interest rate reduction on the current loan), a 25% reduction of the interest rate in the next loan the borrower takes from the bank, or a monthly text message reminder before the loan payment is due (SMS). We find that on average the size of the treatment effect is similar across all the treatment groups: borrowers in the treatment groups have a 7-9% increase in the probability of paying on time and the average days late drop by 2 days a month. The results suggest that simple text messages which help borrowers to better manage their repayment dates have similar effects as large changes in the cost of capital of 25% of interest. The impact of the cash back incentives are stronger for customers with smaller loans and less banking experience, the reduced future interest rate seemed to be most effective for customers with larger loans, while the SMS text messages were particularly effective for younger customers.

Suggested Citation

  • Ximena Cadena & Antoinette Schoar, 2011. "Remembering to Pay? Reminders vs. Financial Incentives for Loan Payments," NBER Working Papers 17020, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17020
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    1. Felipe Kast & Stephan Meier & Dina Pomeranz, 2012. "Under-Savers Anonymous: Evidence on Self-Help Groups and Peer Pressure as a Savings Commitment Device," NBER Working Papers 18417, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Suresh de Mel & David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2009. "Returns to Capital in Microenterprises: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 423-423.
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    1. repec:eee:jeborg:v:142:y:2017:i:c:p:378-395 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Apesteguia, Jose & Funk, Patricia & Iriberri, Nagore, 2013. "Promoting rule compliance in daily-life: Evidence from a randomized field experiment in the public libraries of Barcelona," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 266-284.
    3. Ori Heffetz & Ted O'Donoghue & Henry S. Schneider, 2016. "Forgetting and Heterogeneity in Task Delay: Evidence from New York City Parking-Ticket Recipients," NBER Working Papers 23012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Ugo Troiano & Ricardo Perez-Truglia, 2015. "Tax Debt Enforcement: Theory and Evidence from a Field Experiment in the United States," 2015 Meeting Papers 134, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Keith M. Marzilli Ericson, 2014. "On the Interaction of Memory and Procrastination: Implications for Reminders," NBER Working Papers 20381, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Bogdan Genchev & Julie Holland Mortimer, 2016. "Empirical Evidence on Conditional Pricing Practices," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 908, Boston College Department of Economics.
    7. Melanie Morten & Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2012. "A Personal Touch: Text Messaging for Loan Repayment," Working Papers 1011, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    8. ABEBE, Girum & TEKLE, Biruk & MANO, Yukichi, 2015. "Changing saving and investment behavior: the impact of financial literacy training and reminders on micro-businesses," Discussion paper series HIAS-E-15, Hitotsubashi Institute for Advanced Study, Hitotsubashi University.
    9. Georg Liebig & Jens Rommel, 2014. "Active and Forced Choice for Overcoming Status Quo Bias: A Field Experiment on the Adoption of “No junk mail” Stickers in Berlin, Germany," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 423-435, September.
    10. Hong Luo & Julie Holland Mortimer, 2016. "Copyright Enforcement: Evidence from Two Field Experiments," NBER Working Papers 22082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Akbas, Merve & Ariely, Dan & Robalino, David A. & Weber, Michael, 2016. "How to Help Poor Informal Workers to Save a Bit: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya," IZA Discussion Papers 10024, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Emma Boswell Dean & Frank Schilbach & Heather Schofield, 2017. "Poverty and Cognitive Function," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Poverty Traps National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Kast, Felipe & Meier, Stephan & Pomeranz, Dina, 2012. "Under-Savers Anonymous: Evidence on Self-Help Groups and Peer Pressure as a Savings Commitment Device," IZA Discussion Papers 6311, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Juan Miguel Villa & Danilo Fernandes & Mariano Bosch, 2015. "Nudging the Self-employed into Contributing to Social Security: Evidence from a Nationwide Quasi Experiment in Brazil," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 7313, Inter-American Development Bank.
    15. Maria De Paola & Francesca Gioia & Fabio Piluso, 2017. "Does Reminding Of Behavioural Biases Increase Returns From Financial Trading? A Field Experiment," Working Papers 201705, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    16. Juan Miguel Villa & Danilo Fernandes & Mariano Bosch, 2015. "Nudging the Self-employed into Contributing to Social Security: Evidence from a Nationwide Quasi Experiment in Brazil," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 91877, Inter-American Development Bank.
    17. John Beshears & James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2013. "Who Uses the Roth 401(k), and How Do They Use It?," NBER Chapters,in: Discoveries in the Economics of Aging, pages 411-440 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Cass Sunstein, 2015. "Nudges Do Not Undermine Human Agency," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 207-210, September.
    19. Marc Labie & Carolina Laureti & Ariane Szafarz, 2013. "Flexible Products in Microfinance: Overcoming the Demand-Supply Mismatch," Working Papers CEB 13-044, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    20. repec:eee:jeborg:v:140:y:2017:i:c:p:246-266 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Michael Hamp & Carolina Laureti, 2011. "Balancing flexibility and discipline in microfinance: Innovative financial products that benefit clients and service providers," Working Papers CEB 11-044, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    22. Bracha, Anat & Meier, Stephan, 2014. "Nudging credit scores in the field: the effect of text reminders on creditworthiness in the United States," Working Papers 15-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    23. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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