Study of the Day: Why You Should Shun Credit Cards on Black Friday

New research shows that people who pay with plastic may be more willing to spend and less likely to think critically about their purchases

main Tyler Olson shutterstock_76847113.jpg

PROBLEM: Commercials hardly mention it, but buyer's remorse is just as real a phenomenon on Black Friday as deep discounts, slashed prices, and, of course, unbelievable sales. Can your choice of payment method affect the chances you'll come to regret what you've bought?

METHODOLOGY: Researchers and business professors Promothesh Chatterjee and Randall L. Rose induced people to think about either credit cards or cash as means of payment in four experiments. They then examined the ways these 544 participants evaluated different product attributes.

RESULTS: People who were primed to think about credit cards tended to focus on the benefits of the items they were considering. Those who had cash in mind, on the other hand, were more likely to concentrate on the costs.

CONCLUSION: Shoppers who use cash may be more mindful of prices and other important product considerations than people who charge their purchases. The authors say in a news release: "While convenient, credit cards do not encourage consumers to deliberate over their spending behavior."

SOURCE: The full study, "Do Payment Mechanisms Change the Way Consumers Perceive Products?" is published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Image: Tyler Olson/Shutterstock.

Presented by

Hans Villarica writes for and produces The Atlantic's Health channel. His work has appeared in TIME, People Asia, and Fast Company.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

A global look at the hardest and best job ever

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open for 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

More in Health

Just In