"Impact of Purchases with Debit Cards on Consumption of Unhealthy Food"

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Master of Marketing, University of Tehran, Faculty of Management

2 Full Professor in Industrial Management, Department of Industrial Management, Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

3 Department of Public Administration, Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

4 Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

5 Bachelor of medical science, Islamic Azad University of Zahedan


The present study aimed to determine whether consumers are more likely to buy unhealthy food items when paying with debit cards compared to when they are paying in cash, analyzing the effects of payment methods on the impulse purchase of unhealthy products. To this end, the purchase behavior of a sample of 760 consumers was analyzed via a preliminary study and three main studies. To collect the data, consumer invoices, questionnaires, and purchase simulation techniques were used. The findings indicated that even though the participants who were randomly placed in the debit card payment group were aware of the unhealthiness of food products, they still purchased such products, clearly showing their impulsive behavior. In cash purchases, the number of unhealthy food items in the shopping basket of consumers proved to be lower as compared to when the consumers paid with debit cards. Furthermore, paying with debit cards reduced the pain of paying, ultimately raising the purchase of unhealthy food items.


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