Consumer Knowledge of the Costs of Open‐End Credit

Authors: Kinsey, Jean, and Ray McAliste
Publication: Journal of Consumer Affairs 15, no. 2 (1981): 249-270.

Abstract: A 1977 mail survey of 1,330 Minnesota households found that few respondents had knowledge of the annual percentage rate (APR) of interest on open-end credit accounts or knowledge of the actual dollar finance charge. Knowledge of APR and knowledge of actual dollar costs were, however, found to be closely associated with more realistic assessments of “reasonable” credit costs. Economic theory predicts that those who misperceive credit costs will not use an optimum amount of credit given their preferences and resources, 2nd will, therefore, incur some economic loss. This study found that those respondents most likely to have incurred such losses were from households characterized by low levels of income and education.

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