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Credit where it's due: Reducing credit card debt

Partner agencies: 
Department of the Treasury
A financial institution
Registration date: 
Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Many behavioural biases can cause people to make sub-optimal financial decisions and in the case of credit cards, lead to consumers carrying higher debt than intended. Reflecting this, the Government has proposed a number of reforms for consumer testing, including improved electronic notifications regarding credit use and proactively contacting consumers making small repayments.

This trial will test the impact that timely reminders have on credit card repayment behaviour. More specifically, it will provide evidence of the impact of framing of language and motivational messages that capitalise on behavioural economics principles.

Additional trial information

Intervention start and end date: Monday, 05 June 2017 to Tuesday, 31 October 2017

BETA ethics pre-registration number: ETH 2017 – 006

Experimental design: Customers who meet the eligibility criteria are divided into two channels based on whether they are eligible to receive a SMS or email.

Randomisation is undertaken at the individual level.  For each channel, there are four treatment cells testing the impact of framing and motivational messages, against two control messages. 

Intervention(s): Customers receive messages either via SMS or email, which vary in the framing of language, and focus on either social norming or loss aversion.

Control condition: 2 control conditions. 1 group receives no message and the other group receives a simple message (serving a simple reminder function).

Outcome(s): Repayment of credit card balance.

Expected sample size: Approximately 24,000