Payment method and perceptions of ownership

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review

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How consumers pay influences how they feel about a transaction. In particular, paying by
card has been argued to have an effect on the perception of cost; making it less salient and
painful. We propose and show that payment method also influences how consumers feel
about the acquired good. Specifically we focus on effects of the payment method on
psychological ownership, i.e. the perception of an object as "mine". We propose that cash
payment results in stronger psychological ownership because it influences the extent of
perceived investment in an object. We provide evidence for the proposed effect from field and
laboratory settings. Results of a longitudinal exit-survey and an experiment show that cash
payers report higher levels of immediate psychological ownership than card payers. However,
this effect seems to depend on the meanings associated with a payment method. Asian
students (who associate credit card payment with investment and debt) do not exhibit this
effect. Moreover the initial boost in psychological ownership seems to be comparably shortlived.
Whilst those paying in cash experience no further increase in psychological ownership
over time, those paying by card do. (author's abstract)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57 - 69
JournalMarketing Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013

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