Consumer Preferences and Attitudes in Debt Collection: A Cross-Generational Investigation

  •  Minou Goetze    
  •  Christina Herdt    
  •  Ricarda Conrad    
  •  Stephan Stricker    


Preliminary research indicated that an increasing number of young adults end up in debt collection. Yet, debt collection agencies (DCAs) are still lacking knowledge on how to approach these consumers. A large-scale mixed-methods survey of consumers in Germany (N = 996) was conducted to investigate preference shifts from traditional to digital payment, and communication channels; and attitude shifts towards financial institutions. Our results show that, indeed, younger consumers are more likely to prefer digital payment methods (e.g., Paypal, Apple Pay), while older consumers are more likely to prefer traditional payment methods such as manual transfer. In the case of communication channels, we found that older consumers were more likely to prefer letters than younger consumers. Additional factors that had an influence on payment and communication preferences include gender, income and living in an urban area. Finally, we observed attitude shifts of younger consumers by exhibiting more openness when talking about their debt than older consumers. In summary, our findings show that consumers’ preferences are influenced by individual differences, specifically age, and we discuss how DCAs can leverage these insights to optimize their processes.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1918-719X
  • ISSN(Online): 1918-7203
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: quarterly

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