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Singapore struggles to improve financial literacy

Anuradha Shukla | April 29, 2015
MasterCard’s latest Financial Literacy Index shows disappointing results.

Singapore has fallen to sixth place for financial literacy, according to MasterCard's latest Financial Literacy Index.

The nation has fallen to sixth place for financial literacy, which is significant as previously it ranked second in the region.

Recording the largest decline out of 16 Asia Pacific markets, Singapore has scored 68 index points in financial literacy.

All enterprises in the region are trying their best to improve financial literacy in the region. 

"Crucial to improving financial literacy is encouraging education at an early age. A practical understanding of how to manage money, including saving and borrowing, should be provided by parents and taught at school," said Deborah Heng, group head and general manager, MasterCard Singapore. "The goal is to eventually develop financial know-how so that people can effectively manage money matters such as household cash-flows and loans."

Results in developed markets  

MasterCard's latest Financial Literacy Index indicates disappointing results in developed markets including Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.

Financial Literacy Score of Taiwan was 73, New Zealand 71, Hong Kong 70, Australia and Malaysia 69.   

Singapore's overall financial literacy declined due to a fall in consumers' understanding of basic money management. People in the country find it difficult to regularly pay bills and manage their unsecured loans.

People under 30 are less financially literate than those over 30 in all markets.

"There is no one reason for the falling level of financial literacy across the region but the data clearly shows that the young and unemployed need additional support," said T.V. Seshadri, group executive, Global Products and Solutions, MasterCard Asia Pacific. "Educating people so they can plan for the future is a crucial aspect of financial inclusion. In both developed and emerging markets, people are struggling to understand basic financial concepts such as inflation." 



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