What about new payment technologies?
Recently we have seen a flurry of new payment methods – the most widespread of which are contactless cards. Gabrielle Hobday and I investigated how contactless cards affected price sensitivity by posing three questions to people leaving coffee shops in Central London:
How much did you spend?
What means of payment did you use?
Please can we see your receipt?
The last question was crucial, as it let us compare recollection with reality.
The findings were striking. People paying with cash typically overestimated their spend by 9%, whereas those using contactless cards underestimated by 5%. A stretch of 14 percentage points. Credit card estimates were, in contrast, spot on.
The variation is important: on a typical supermarket shop of £25, the 14% difference between recollections of spend on a contactless card and cash amounts to £3.50. Contactless cards could be the difference between remembering a shopping trip as expensive or cheap. It is this memory that determines whether shoppers return. A positive recollection can either be achieved by steep discounting, which erodes profits, or by an innovative approach to payment.