Generational differences in payment transparency perceptions

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Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services Volume 77, March 2024, 103691


Empirical studies often assume cash is more transparent than digital payment. In our pre-registered study, we compared perceptions of Americans from Generation X and the Baby Boomer Generation (currently aged 43–77) to Generation Z (currently 18–26). Whereas older adults perceived cash as significantly more transparent, real, harder to forget, and more painful to spend, young adults saw cash and digital payments as equally transparent, real, easy to forget, and painful to spend. Accessibility of banking information on one's phone was a strong predictor of these differences. In addition, phone alerts for autopayment processing strongly predicted the perceived transparency of autopayments.


Sameena M. Flinner was an undergraduate student at the University of Southern Maine at time of publication.