Nudging Credit Scores in the Field: The Effect of Text Reminders on Creditworthiness in the United States
Given the fundamental role that credit scores play in day-to-day life in the United States, it is very important to understand what can be done to help individuals improve their credit scores. This question is important in general, and especially important for the low-to-moderate-income (LMI) individuals who likely have a greater need for access to liquidity than higher-income individuals. In this paper the authors report results from a field experiment conducted between early 2013 and early 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts, with LMI taxpayers who were offered credit advising services. Taxpayers who opted into the advising sessions were randomized as to whether they received extra information on credit scores and the average APR (annual payment rate) on basic credit cards in their area (the "information" condition), and, independently, as to whether or not they received monthly text reminders (the "text" condition). These reminders included the individual's financial goal and credit score range, reminders to pay bills on time and to pay at least the minimum amount, and updated interest rate information on basic credit cards.