Behavioral Trends: In Debt We Trust


In Debt We Trust


We live in debt. The premise is irresistible: enjoy today, pay tomorrow. If we can “afford” the minimum payment, we go ahead and buy. Give us innovative payment options and methods. At the end, all money is debt. Do we have a healthy or a vicious relationship with it?




In 2006, Bangladeshi banker and social business Muhammad Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his pioneering concept of microcredits. He created the Grameen Bank in 1976 for the purpose of providing small-scale credits to the impoverished in Bangladesh, and has provided over $24 billion in loans to around 9 million borrowers as of 2020 worldwide. Professor Yunus has long said that poverty is an unnecessary imposed by society on people, and that creating a poverty-free world is a matter of will.

In Debt We Trust - Mohammad Yunus


Pequeño Cerdo Capitalista is a book and a blog focused on financial education for those sectors of the population who usually eschew the topic – the book jokingly states it targets “hippies, yuppies and bohemians”. Run by Mexican author Sofía Macías, the blog has been running for ten years as of 2020 and continues to offer resources for adults who simply don’t want to be adults yet.

In Debt We Trust - Pequeno Cerdo Capitalista


The Alliance for Financial Inclusion is a global organization that empowers policy-makers to foster inclusivity in finance across developing countries. They focus on including people across gender and class, particularly those people who have never had access to financial resources (i.e. a savings account). The initiative holds yearly meetings to discuss and advance projects, and has offices in Malaysia and Ivory Coast.

In Debt We Trust - Alliance for Financial Inclusion


Leo Babauta’s blog Zen Habits has prepared a list of goals for debt-ridden people who want to incorporate a zen lifestyle. They address the fact that debt is often one of the most stressful things in life – and we need to do something about it. From saving every penny you can to reviewing finances on a constant basis, their blog post is a beacon for folks who struggle with their finances and more.

In Debt We Trust - Financial Zen


In 2019, Apple partnered with Mastercard to launch their Apple Card, a credit card designed to work in sync with their existing service Apple Pay and the iPhone. The card encourages users to pay less interest and has no fees – an alluring incentive for those users who want the least debt possible.

In Debt We Trust - Apple Card


Ubiquitous ride-hailing and food delivery company Uber launched their Uber Money system in 2019. This is essentially a way to pre-pay for trips and food orders, by adding funds that can later be spent on Uber services. Uber Money allows users to stick to a dedicated budget for their rides and orders, which is particularly helpful for frequent users who want to cut back on their spending.

In Debt We Trust - Uber Cash


Bitcoin is perhaps the most well-known cryptocurrency in the market. Emerging from an anonymous creator in 2010, the currency is based on blockchain technology, which ensures anonymity and transparency. The value of bitcoin has skyrocketed since its creation, having peaked at 19 thousand U.S. dollars in July 2017. Owning bitcoin has proven extremely profitable for those who invested early – and is a way of securing savings indefinitely and securely.

In Debt We Trust -


An obstacle to investing is often the lack of funds – usually, you need to invest large sums to be able to return profits. But what if you could kickstart an investing career with just spare change? Acorns is a subscription app that does exactly that. It rounds up purchases made with a credit or debit card and automatically invests the change to a selection of companies and bonds. This change can then be used as normal income or it can be saved for retirement, giving some respite for users who haven’t planned ahead.

In Debt We Trust - Acorns


Mortgages can be a huge financial burden for homeowners, and navigating them is complicated – not to say, paying them off can be tricky as well. Better Mortgage is an online service that guides prospective homeowners through every step of the way – from assessing their wealth to understand their actual budget for a home, to figuring out schedules and finding the best interest rates. Better might just make this lifelong debt more manageable.

In Debt We Trust - Better


Canadian financial technology company Mogo has created a pre-paid debit card named MogoSpend. This card helps the user limit their annual spending, and provides several innovative benefits, like unlimited cashback and $0 monthly interest, among others. Another interesting incentive for this card is the fact that the company will offset the carbon footprint of the user, offering a way to limit spending and pollution all in one.

In Debt We Trust - MogoSpend


Rakuten provides easy, nearly-automatic cash-back at over 2500 well-known stores across the United States, both online and in stores. The company practically pays users to spend at their already-frequented stores while also promoting those stores. It’s a win-win situation for cost-conscious costumers as well as for the stores they shop at.

In Debt We Trust - Rakuten


Browser extension Honey is a godsend for online shopping. It automatically scans the web for the most relevant promo codes to your current purchase, automatically applying them and saving a lot of money in the process. It costs nothing, but saves you time AND money.

In Debt We Trust - Honey


Coupons are probably the most well-known strategy for saving money on products. Groupon is an online service that has been offering coupons since 2008 and has now expanded their services to 15 countries around the world – helping both emerging businesses and customers who just want to get the best deal they can.

In Debt We Trust - Groupon


Venmo is a money-sharing app that has become ubiquitous in the United States. It’s the most practical way to split bills and send some money to friends and family. This prevents the building up of debt between friends and colleagues – and ensures everyone is responsible for their share of the pie.

In Debt We Trust - Venmo


Paying in instalments is popular among developing countries, with banks and card companies alike offering monthly payments to users. In the United States, however, it was nearly impossible to do so until Splitit showed up. Splitit works with users’ existing credit cards and automatically splits the price of an items into monthly instalments with no interest, preventing the build-up of additional debt and allowing users to get what they want when they want it.

In Debt We Trust - Splitit


Mint is a free app that allows users to stay on top of their finances across different devices. It organizes spending and budgets, showing financial summaries and even credit scores at a glance, and has been hailed as a lifesaver by thousands of users for over 10 years now.

In Debt We Trust - Intuit Mint


Click here to navigate our list of Behavioral Trends for value creation, full of insights and needstates, written from a post-demographic human-centered perspective by our partner Andrea Lobo.


Chat with us!