Cultivating self-control in FinTech: evidence from a field experiment on online consumer borrowing

Di Bu, Tobin Hanspal, Yin Liao*, Yong Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
161 Downloads (Pure)


We report the results of a longitudinal intervention with students across 5 universities in China designed to reduce online consumer debt. We allocate participants to either a financial literacy treatment group, a self-control treatment group, or a zero-touch control group. Our self-control training intervention features detailed tracking of spending and borrowing, budgeting, and introspection about consumption choices. This intervention reduces online borrowing and delinquency charges, mainly driven by a reduction in entertainment-related spending and borrowing. In contrast, financial literacy interventions improve test scores but only marginally affect borrowing. Our results suggest that cultivating self-regulation and budgeting skills can improve borrowing behavior on e-commerce platforms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2208-2250
Number of pages43
JournalJournal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis
Issue number6
Early online date8 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Consumer credit
  • FinTech
  • Financial literacy
  • Online borrowing
  • Self-control


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