15:51 24 May 2016
Psychologists have previously said that although paying with cash can bring a bit of inconvenience, using contact less payments makes spending easier. A research in 2010 went a step further and found that credit cards do not just make us want to spend more; it also makes it harder to resist unhealthy purchases.
The researchers analysed the shopping behaviour of 1,000 American families over six months and found that those who are paying credit cards have a larger portion of food that are “impulsive and unhealthy” in their shopping carts compared to those who are paying with cash.
They theorised that consumers are more likely to buy “virtue products” such as fat-free yoghurt that can explain away any pain felt at handing over cash. They added that getting a “vice product” from the shelf is more like an act of visceral impulse. As the paying can’t be just justified so easily, paying using credit card mitigate the pain and consumers are more likely to go ahead and buy.
Steve Peters, the author of The Chimp Paradox, a book about the connection between long-term decision-making and the desire for immediate gratification, said: "One of the systems works very impulsively. By nature the contactless payments favours that system. Whereas the cash in your hand makes you act rationally. It favours the system where you're going to think through the consequences of your action."
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