Your iPhone is secretly making you overspend, experts claim – how to avoid ‘accidental’ spending sprees

IF YOU’RE using Apple Pay on your iPhone, you might be spending more than you think, according to experts.

According to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Puget Sound in Washington, people who use mobile payment apps face higher odds of overspending.

Frequent use of Apple Pay can add to your overspending


Frequent use of Apple Pay can add to your overspendingPhoto credit: Getty

The study, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, examined the spending habits of 21,457 American adults.

Around 37 percent of the group stated that they use mobile payment applications such as Apple Pay or Google Pay.

The study found that members of this group are 34 percent more likely to spend more than their annual income.

These participants were also 31 percent more likely to have difficulty paying bills and expenses.

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“Overspending via mobile payments may be related to the intangible nature of the transaction coupled with its convenience, which allows the user to detach from the transaction,” the researchers said.

Over 48 percent of iOS users worldwide activated Apple Pay in 2019 – according to Statista, that’s around 441 million people.

And in 2020, 32 percent of all online purchases worldwide were made through mobile payment apps.

The proliferation of these technologies sparked the research team’s interest in how they might affect people’s consumption habits.

“Despite the benefits of using mobile payments, little research has been done on how the use of mobile payments affects consumers’ financial behavior,” the researchers said.

Overall, the study found associations between mobile payment users and a higher likelihood of overspending, money management issues, and poor credit card habits.

“The likelihood of spending more than income, having difficulty covering expenses or paying bills on time, paying a minimum payment, a late fee or an over-limit fee when using credit cards was significant for mobile payment users higher,” the study authors said.

One possible reason, according to the researchers, is that mobile payments are convenient and can lead to overspending.

Another theory is that mobile payments, like credit cards, save people the pain of spending physical cash.

“Mobile payment users can have an even greater convenience effect [than credit cards] to overspending,” the researchers added.

The team hopes these insights will help reduce the risk of people overspending across technology and personal devices in the future.

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“The findings have practical implications for service providers in the mobile payments industry on how to design and develop interventions to reduce the adverse impact of consumers’ use of mobile payments,” the team said.

In the meantime, if you want to reduce the risk of overspending, disabling your mobile payment app can help dramatically.

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Chris Barrese

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