What’s in your Wallet? Depends on your Browser.

by on November 5, 2010 at 7:04 am in Data Source, Economics | Permalink

What's in your wallet? Less if you use Firefox or IE and more if you use Chrome. Here from J-Walk Blog are interest rates for a car loan from Capital One if you use IE.

IERates

and here are the rates if you use Chrome:

Chrome

I found something similar and the Consumerist also reports similar results. 

Price discrimination makes sense if Chrome users are better searchers, as seems likely. I suspect, however, that it is price experimentation and the Chrome<IE effect is being reported more often than the reverse.  I cleared cookies and tried a couple of times and although rates varied the lowest rate was still with Chrome.  I gave up after a few tries, however.

LC November 5, 2010 at 3:18 am

On the Mac, I personally get the same rates with Chrome, Firefox and Safari. There is no IE version compatible with latest Mac versions, so I cannot check that one. I get the same rates you get with Chrome.
On Maemo (a linux distro for Nokia phones), I get the same rates I have on the mac with the maemo standard browser Inbrowser, while with the maemo version of Firefox they are even lower (2,30% instead of 2,70% for example).
If I run IE on the virtual pc running on my mac through parallels desktop, I get the same rates I have with the Mac browsers (and that you report for Chrome).

TheophileEscargot November 5, 2010 at 3:44 am

I get lower rates with from that link with Chrome too.

IE gives me:
New Vehicle 3.50% 3.87% 4.97%
Used Vehicle (Dealer) 5.09% 5.39% 6.71%
Refinancing 4.84% 4.84% 4.84%

Firefox gives me:
New Vehicle 3.10% 3.47% 4.47%
Used Vehicle (Dealer) 4.49% 4.89% 6.11%
Refinancing 4.34% 4.34% 4.34%

Chrome gives me:
New Vehicle 2.30% 2.67% 3.37%
Used Vehicle (Dealer) 3.59% 3.89% 4.81%
Refinancing 3.54% 3.54% 3.54%

kilativ November 5, 2010 at 4:31 am

i think it's a marketing trick. look in how many blogs this information is now posted.

Indy November 5, 2010 at 4:46 am

Where's Financial Products Consumer Protection Czar when you need one?

Bill November 5, 2010 at 5:21 am

Price discrimination in electronic markets is quite common, particularly for the same person who searches at a different time or whose profile is known by a cookie history, but it is surprising to me that Chrome would make a difference. Do they handle cookies differently. What is the explanation.

I would also note that the phrasing of the the advertisement is "Rates as Low As". So when you actually inform the lender who you are, your rates may actually be different based on credit history, desperation, weight and time of the day.

You can use price discrimination on the internet to your advantage as well. Just go to a website, put a product in the shopping basket, and do not purchase it. Just leave it in the basket.

Wait for the coupon or notice of a discount to come from the website, or FREE SHIPPING or whatever.

ricardo November 5, 2010 at 5:49 am

"If statistical analysis of web traffic, correlated to account history, indicates that users of browser X are more likely to default or be a problem payer on a loan than users of browser Y, then that goes into the mix, and has absolutely nothing to do with the browser itself."

I think Alex, and probably the preceding commenters, understand this point.

mravery November 5, 2010 at 6:10 am

Still, a whole point's worth of difference? That's a lot of lift generated by differentiation based purely on browser type. Company's that blindly put their faith in abstruse correlations generated from mining enormous data sets are asking to be surprised by the results.

zbicyclist November 5, 2010 at 6:33 am

First there was airline food. Then there were "restaurants" that just microwave premade stuff.

Next there was airline pricing. And so we have this.

Mr. Gunn November 5, 2010 at 7:46 am

mravery – companies such as, I don't know, Washington Mutual, Citigroup, Bank of America, you mean?

Ed November 5, 2010 at 8:46 am

My numbers were different in Chrome and IE until I deleted my cookies. So could be related to other sites visited rather than choice of browser.

bayes.man November 5, 2010 at 10:59 am

My guess is that one of their models uses browser settings(type of browser, default language, etc) as some of the variables in the statistical model that they use to generate quotes. It just so happens that the model learnt a higher coeffecient for the 'is chrome?' variable. Maybe there is something to it.

fp3690 November 5, 2010 at 11:47 am

This is not robust. I used Chrome when I had windows but it is just awful for Mac, so I switched back to firefox. So this might be true for windows users but given the rise in macs it will soon break down.

Jim November 5, 2010 at 1:07 pm

I had a similar experience yesterday – but in my case I thought the price difference might have been based on my location. I live in Dallas. I was helping my mother, who lives on Chicago, book flights for a visit to Dallas. So we did what we often do – we got on our computers at the same time so that I could be looking at the same web information as my mother. We went to American Airlines' website and put in the same departure and return dates. But when the flight options came up, the fares my mother saw started at $99 on the departure date, but the fares on my screen started at $139. (Both flights were out of O'Hare, not Midway.) I figured this was because American somehow (can it tell I am connected to servers in Dallas?) knew I was in Dallas, which is a somewhat captive market for them.

zbicyclist November 6, 2010 at 10:48 am

I tried this as well on MSIE, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome (same machine) and got results similar to those above.
http://mikekr.blogspot.com/2010/11/browser-affect

It's clearly repeatable — I got the same results on the same browsers trying it some minutes later.

Extamax November 14, 2010 at 3:25 am

I use Firefox. What are the chances of my getting a car loan..?

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