Consumer Incentives for Efficient Payment Methods
Research to consumer incentives for efficient payment methods

In 2012, CentERdata was commissioned by the Foundation for Efficient Payment Methods (SBEB) to research consumer incentives for efficient payment methods. SBEB wanted to know how consumers could be stimulated to select debit card payment (‘PIN’ payments) instead of cash. The main questions were:

  • Which factors influence consumers’ payment selection?
  • What interventions can be applied to guide consumers?
  • Which interventions are most effective: when (“moments”) and for whom (“segments”)?

Interventions researched

The research targeted a large array of possible financial and non-financial interventions that interact at various moments in the payment process before, during and after the payment selection (Table 1). Informational incentives were examined that concentrate on changing attitudes (for example, advertising, feedback), and structural incentives that influence payment selection directly without necessary changes in attitude (for example, store layout, prompts, charging for cash withdrawals and cash payments, financial and non-financial awards). These incentives do not in any way represent interventions that SBEB or affiliated parties of SBEB are or were planning to implement.

Table 1: Overview of incentives tested and related sub-reports


The study reveals a number of interesting options. In general, incentives that are presented at the counter are the most effective. Interventions that take place immediately before payment selection, such as a prompt (a direct appeal for certain behavior, for example, "Please use your debit card!") or a debit card question posed by the cashier ("Would you like to use your debit card?"), work better than an incentive that is given after the transaction ("Thank you for using your debit card!"). Since the cash content of wallets/purses appeared be a good predictor of payment selection, we also studied the incentives that can be given by the banking sector to reduce the frequency and amount of cash withdrawals and thereby indirectly stimulate debit card use at retail counters. We found, for example, that reducing the preferred cash amounts on the screen of an ATM leads to a decrease in the selected amount for withdrawal.