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Using Credit Card Can Give a High Like Cocaine, Finds MIT Study

A sales staff accepts payment by credit card through a point-of-sale (POS) device. (Image for representation)

A sales staff accepts payment by credit card through a point-of-sale (POS) device. (Image for representation)

People spend much more when they use the card instead of cash, which has only increased after the global pandemic led to fear of contracting the virus through cash transactions.

Being a shopaholic or a compulsive buyer has been an addiction for many who seem to struggle with it. The high of spending with each purchase hits in a similar way as cocaine, a study revealed. Shopaholics can get addicted to using credit cards as the purchase gives the brain the same ‘hit’ like cocaine. The study conducted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has revealed that credit card purchases trigger the same chemical reaction in the brain as use of cocaine and other addictive drugs like amphetamines.

It is known that people spend much more when they use the card instead of cash, which has only increased after the global pandemic led to fear of contracting the virus through cash transactions. It was found that different types of shopping credit cards can spark different desires, like a greater appetite for spending is created when using cards in restaurants than using cards to buy fuel.

As per Daily Mail, the researchers found that credit cards ‘step on the gas’ by putting costs out-of-mind, regardless of expense. The study concludes that spending using cash does not stimulate ‘reward networks’ in the brain.

According to Professor Drazen Prelec, study’s co-author, the reward networks in the brain are activated by all kinds of awards like a credit card purchase, as the act of placing the plastic card in your hand is associated with enjoyable purchases. For the study, participants’ brain scans were studied who used cash and credit cards to make real purchases of everyday products. The findings of the study were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

RELATED NEWS

As the pandemic hit the whole world, there has been a surge for contactless payment, hence, increasing digital payment methods to stop the spread of coronavirus. In the UK, the single payment using a contactless card limit would rise to £100 this year, according to Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

According to the latest data from banking trade body UK Finance, in October, there was a 16 per cent increase in the total value of contactless payments compared to the same month,a year earlier.

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