Consumer Search Behavior in the Changing Credit Card Market
This article investigates whether search costs inhibit consumers from searching for lower credit card interest rates. The results provide evidence that the credit card search environment has changed since the mid-1990s. Using the 2001 Survey of Consumer Finances, we model consumers' propensity to search and their probability of being denied credit simultaneously and find that larger credit card balances induce cardholders to search more even though they face a higher probability of rejection. This result may be related to the high volume of direct solicitation, combined with disclosure requirements, which has lowered the cost of search to find lower interest rates.
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