"And how will you be paying today?"The social construction of demand for payment methods

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Anne Lewis


Economists have long known that different cultures pay for goods and services in different ways. This thesis complements the economic research by identifying several elements of social construction for payment method demand in the UK, creating new knowledge in this under researched area. Further social and cultural influences on payment choice can be identified in future consumer behaviour research. As the full social construction of demand for payments is built, it will complete the economic research and more accurately predict future payment method demand. Smartphones, contactless cards and Bit coins may all contribute to a change in the way we pay, but without understanding why we choose a payment method it is impossible to really know.This thesis uses quantitative analysis of primary research to ascertain that there is a correlation between payment methods and shopping value, location of shopping, amount paid and goods/services purchased. The survey (n=676) also collects data on preferences to use cash by amount paid and goods purchased. As a by-product of this survey a correlation between shopping value and demographic segment (gender and ethnicity) is revealed. Factor analysis and structural equation modelling show that hedonic shoppers prefer tactile and exciting forms of payment (attributes associated with cash) and utilitarian shoppers prefer convenient, cost effective, speedy, rewarded and recorded forms of payment (attributes associated with card payments). The mean value for shoppers to switch from cash to cards is £35 but this varies with shopping value, payment preferences and demographic group. Shoppers also habitually buy certain goods with cash, one common factor being the avoidance of a record of their indulgences. This thesis demonstrates that shopping value and various subjective norms of behaviour influence our choice at the checkout, proving the principle that there is a social construction to the demand for payment methods.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2015