What is it about?

How many subscriptions do you have? A new research study with over 4500 respondents finds that people have many more subscriptions than they realize, and that they're spending a lot more money on these subscriptions than they think. The automatic renewal of payments makes it more challenging for people to keep track of all of their subscriptions, which is bad for their financial health (because people are spending a lot of money in ways they don't realize). The research also shows that people are "oversubscribed" -- that is, they have more subscriptions than they want. When people become aware of how many subscriptions they have, they want to cancel some of their subscriptions. Subscription awareness, or more deliberate engagement with people's subscriptions, may help them better manage their finances.

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Why is it important?

There is no doubt that it is difficult for people to manage their finances. This research shows that subscription services (e.g., Netflix, Amazon Prime, countless phone apps, etc.) present a new challenge for people. Specifically, people are spending more money than they realize on their subscriptions. Given how common subscription services are, this research has big implications for how consumers are spending their money in ways that they do not realize.


I hope this research leads people to think about their subscriptions a bit more in order to better manage their finances.

Anna Paley
Tilburg University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Crowdsourcing as a tool for creating effective nudges: An example for financial oversubscription, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, October 2023, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2308129120.
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