Why do many consumers prefer to pay now when they could pay later?

Arvind Agrawal, James W. Gentry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Payment timing is conceptualized as a payment characteristic useful in explaining motivations to prefer payment types. Cash, debit cards, and online banking represent consumers' preferences to pay now, while credit cards and loans represent the inclination to pay later. Based on a grounded theory study, a payment-timing model is developed to theorize consumers' choices of payment types with differences in payment timing. The model presents four motivations for payment-timing preferences: (1) the extent of rewards salience, (2) the perception of financial stress, (3) adopting heuristics for money management, and (4) the influence of perceived financial ability. Consumers choose payment-timing options that best suit their financial strategy to manage payments in pursuit of their consumption objectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Consumer Affairs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019



  • payment timing
  • payment type choice
  • payment type decisions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)

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