March 01, 2011
Thai Women Top Financial Literacy Index Rankings
Singapore, 1 March 2011: Just how much do women across Asia/Pacific know about managing finances? MasterCard Worldwide’s inaugural Index of Financial Literacy released today highlights that women across Asia/Pacific are financially savvy to some extent, in particular among the over-30, married, working group, but that the level of financial literacy in women can be raised further, especially among the younger generation.
Thai women topped the Financial Literacy Index with an Index score of 73.9. They had the highest scores in Financial Planning (87.0) and Investments (69.3), outshining their peers in the other 13 Asia/Pacific markets surveyed. Also noteworthy was Vietnamese women, who took fourth place, with an overall Index score of 70.1.
In contrast, developed markets Korea (55.9) and Japan (59.9) makes up the lower spectrum of the Index.
The MasterCard Index of Financial Literacy is based on a survey of consumers from 24 markets across Asia/Pacific Middle East Africa (APMEA). It comprises three major components: Basic Money Management, which examines the respondents’ skills in terms of budgeting, savings and responsibility of credit usage; Financial Planning, which assesses their knowledge of financial products, services, concepts and ability to make long-term plans for financial needs; and Investment, which indicates their basic understanding of the various investment risks, different investment products and if they have the necessary skills.
The Index score is calculated from the weighted sum of the three components, with 100 as the maximum score in financial literacy and zero as the lowest possible score. The survey was conducted between 13 September and 11 November 2010 and will continue to be conducted on an annual basis.
Of the three components that make up the survey, women across Asia/Pacific as a whole scored the best in Financial Planning 74.6), followed by Basic Money Management (63.9) and Investment (56.7).
Among the developed markets, New Zealand and Australia had the second (71.3) and third (70.2) highest overall Index scores. They also led in Basic Money Management with scores of 76.7 and 75.8 respectively. They did not perform as strongly in Financial Planning, coming in under the 14 market average, and Investment (58.3 and 55.2 respectively).
Singapore in fifth place did relatively well in terms of basic money management (70.0) as well as financial planning (80.4). However, Singaporean women were outshined by their counterparts from the other markets surveyed in terms of investment skills and knowledge, as indicated by their score of 51.5 which is below the regional average.
The developing markets of the Philippines (68.2), Indonesia (66.5) and Malaysia (66.0), were also in the Index top 10, outperforming their counterparts in India, China, Japan and Korea.
The most populous developing markets in the world, India (61.4) and China (60.1) reflected a lower Financial Literacy score among women. Chinese and Indian women are particularly weak in Basic Money Management (54.4 and 58.8), near the bottom of the ranking for that component in Asia/Pacific. While, Japan and Korea are the only two markets in Asia/Pacific with a Women’s Financial Literacy Index score that falls below 60.
“This new MasterCard Index has certainly provided us with fresh insights to women’s aptitude for and knowledge of managing their finances. While it is encouraging to see that women across Asia/Pacific have some basic degree of financial literacy, it is also apparent that there is still work to be done to improve levels across the board. There is something to be said for the strong performance of Thai and Vietnamese women in the rankings – these are markets where rapid socio-economic advancement has given women vital and valuable first-hand entrepreneurial experience and exposure to financial planning and money management concepts,” observed Georgette Tan, vice president, Communications, Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa, MasterCard Worldwide.
“With the financial world becoming increasingly complex, there is a compelling need for women to be more financially confident and competent. As an organization committed to the empowerment of women in our communities, MasterCard will continue to work towards raising financial literacy in the region.”
 Markets surveyed include Australia, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.
|Overall Financial Literacy Index||Components of Financial Literacy Index|
|Basic Money Management||Financial Planning||Investment|
The MasterCard Worldwide Index suite in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa includes the long-running MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement, Online Shopping, Index of Financial Literacy, and the Index of Global Destination Cities. In addition to the Indices, MasterCard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including Ethical Spending and a series on Consumer Purchasing Priorities (covering Travel, Dining & Entertainment, Education, Money Management, Luxury and General Shopping).
MasterCard also regularly releases Insights reports providing analysis of business dynamics, financial policies and regulatory activities in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. Over 80 Insights reports have been produced since 2004.
The MasterCard Indexes and Insights reports are available at www.masterintelligence.com
MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Conversations Blog and subscribe for the latest news.