Simple word choices appeared to make a great difference, according to a report by Common Cents Lab, associated with Duke University. An example cited in the report is that asking people to “save money on a mortgage” is far less appealing than asking them if they’d like “to earn money back from a mortgage.” This simple switch in messaging increased click-through rates for online advertising by more than 50%. The study was so successful that the company who commissioned it changed its name after the study was completed.
The power in the wording change is a way to frame the action of loan repayment in terms of loss aversion. People will not forget a loss, the researchers note, they will take steps to avoid that loss. If the quicker repayment of interest-based loans is framed as a loss of money, rather than a payment of money, the response, and repayment, of debt took on a greater sense of urgency.