Payment options may impact product perception

New research suggests payment types may impact not only consumers' purchase decisions, but also their perception of a given product.

While retailers have been encouraged to adopt integrated payment services that accept credit, debit, cash, checks and even mobile payments, new research suggests payment types may impact not only consumers' purchase decisions, but also their perception of a given product.

According a report published in the Journal of Consumer Research, credit cards may incite consumers to view a product more favorably, in that they evaluate its specific benefits. With cash, on the other hand, consumers tend to focus more on the product's cost and monetary value.

"While convenient, credit cards do not encourage consumers to deliberate over their spending behavior," write authors Promothesh Chatterjee (University of Kansas) and Randall Rose (University of South Carolina). "Our findings suggest that marketers may be affecting not just the amount of money consumers are willing to spend but also the nature of the goods and services that find their way into consumers' market baskets."

There is a psychological undertone to the findings, as the researchers found consumers tend to develop mental associations about payment modes from an early age. Cash, for example, elicits the stress of making a payment to explain why credit card advertisements tend to focus on immediate gratification.