Using robust survey data collected quarterly since January 2023, the Consumer Finance Institute (CFI) continues an ongoing exploration of how consumers engage with these products and how the potential risks may be manifesting among users. This report — based on more than 5,000 survey responses (including 800-1,000 4-in-6 product users) each quarter — finds:

  • Consumers’ use of 4-in-6 products increased between the 2022 and 2023 holiday seasons, and the frequency of high-volume use (5+ transactions) also increased.
  • 4-in-6 users during the most recent holiday period reported greater success in making all their payments than users during the same time period in the prior year.
  • 4-in-6 users are younger and more likely to be part of a minority group than nonusers — findings that are consistent with our previous work on this topic.
  • On average, 4-in-6 users have higher incomes than nonusers in our data. One-third of all users reported earning more than $70,000 in the past year, compared with 22.5 percent of nonusers.
  • The majority of users do not cite credit constraints as a primary reason for using 4-in-6 products. Indeed, limited access to credit is the least frequently cited reason, and its frequency declined relative to a year ago. Rather, the most frequently cited reasons for using the 4-in-6 product were convenience and a general preference for the product.
  • These results imply that there is a distinct minority of 4-in-6 users with lower incomes or who indicate that limited access to credit is a primary reason for using these products.
  • Even though most 4-in-6 users report relatively high income and few credit constraints, it appears that many users have more challenging financial lives when compared with nonusers.
    • For example, 60 percent of all users experienced a financial disruption of some sort in the last 12 months, compared with 49 percent of nonusers.
    • More users than nonusers report concerns about their ability to make their monthly payments within the next 12 months.
    • To meet monthly expenses, 4-in-6 users were more likely than nonusers to take on additional work, increase borrowing, reduce savings, or decrease spending.
    • Users of 4-in-6 products are equally likely as nonusers to be able to cover an emergency expense, but they are much less likely to do so using their available cash or savings. 
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