ESRI Research Bulletin

Subtle features of online loan calculators can influence consumer choices

ESRI Research Bulletin Articles provide short summaries of work published by ESRI researchers and overviews of thematic areas covered by ESRI programmes of research. Bulletin Articles are designed to be easily accessible to a wide readership. A reference or references to the full publication is included at the start of each Bulletin article.

August 14, 2019
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As online banking becomes more popular, many consumers now use online calculators and price comparison tools to apply for financial products. These online tools often feature default figures that the consumer sees when they first reach the webpage, such as the default repayment term for a personal loan. Findings from behavioural economics suggest that these kinds of default settings can have surprisingly strong influences on people’s decisions. In collaboration with the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), the ESRI’s Behavioural Research Unit designed a controlled behavioural experiment to test whether the default repayment terms set on loan calculators and search tools influence the loans that people choose.