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Jul 9, 2013

MasterCard Financial Literacy Index 2013

Singapore, 3 July 2013 –New Zealanders have the best basic money management skills in the Asia/Pacific region, but the Chinese have shown themselves to be the most proficient investors, according to MasterCard’s latest research.
The MasterCard Index of Financial Literacy is based on a survey conducted between April 2013 and May 2013 with 7756 respondents aged 18 – 64 in 16 Asia/Pacific[1] markets. This is the 4th survey of Financial Literacy conducted since 2010. The survey polled consumers on three aspects of financial literacy including their basic money management skills, investment knowledge[2] and financial planning to determine the level of basic money management skills in terms of budgeting, savings, and responsibility of credit usage. The survey and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.
On overall financial literacy, New Zealand continued to rank number one with a score of 74 index points, ahead of Singapore (72 index points) and Taiwan (71 index points). Indonesia came third from bottom of the region dropping seven places to 14th with 60 index points, with India and Japan at the bottom with 59 index points and 57 index points respectively.
New Zealanders also came top in overall basic money management (77 index points), which includes skills such as day-to-day budgeting, keeping up with bills, credit commitments and setting money aside for big purchases, just ahead of Australia (75 index points) and Singapore (73 index points). In contrast, respondents from Myanmar and India were the least literate in terms of basic money management, both scoring 54 index points.
At 68 index points, China ranked top in understanding of bank statements and complex investment concepts such as diversification and inflation, ahead of Hong Kong (67 index points) and Taiwan (63 index points). Burmese consumers fared the best in the region for financial planning with 88 index points: they are the region’s most proficient savers for the ‘unexpected and retirement’, ahead of Taiwan (83 index points) and Malaysia (82 index points).
Georgette Tan, group head, Communications, Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa, said, “This Index of Financial literacy is a good measure of whether and how people in the Asia/Pacific region are making informed decisions around their home finances. New Zealand is a standout overall, and China has made great strides in improving investment acumen. However, there are divides across our markets that reflect the gap between the developed and the developing. Financial literacy is a concern where a large proportion of society are without the support and education that is taken for granted in the developed world.”
Consumers from the developing markets of Thailand, the Philippines and China showed the most significant progress in the region in overall financial literacy. Women in the emerging markets of Myanmar, Vietnam and China also outscored men in financial literacy, by 7 index points, 6 index points and 3 index points respectively.
The survey found a positive correlation between those married and over 30 years old. Respondents in this demographic tended to have higher levels of financial proficiency in all countries except the Philippines, suggesting the need to be financially savvy becomes more pronounced with marriage and the managing of household expenses, education and other financial commitments. Those under 30 years old tended to have lower financial literacy.


The Index is based on a survey of consumers from 25 markets across APMEA and comprises questions covering three major components:
  • Basic Money Management (50% weight): To determine the level of basic money management skills in terms of budgeting, savings, and responsibility of credit usage.
  • Financial Planning (30% weight): To assess level of knowledge about financial products, services, and concepts, and ability to plan for long-term financial needs.
  • Investment (20% weight): To determine basic understanding of the various risks associated with investment, different investment products and skills required.
A Financial Literacy Index Score for each market was calculated out of the weighted sum of the 3 components.
Regional Aggregates are calculated via the average of the individual country components before applying the weights described above.
Interviews for the MasterCard Financial Literacy Index were conducted via internet surveys, personal, telephone and Computer Aided Telephone interviews, with the questionnaire translated to the local language wherever appropriate and necessary.

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