Report: Just 4% of Americans Demonstrate Basic Financial Literacy

Report: Just 4% of Americans Demonstrate Basic Financial Literacy

Already low, financial literacy in America is on the decline, with many people unable to understand concepts such as inflation or compound interest.

That’s according to a Sunday (Nov. 20) report from the Financial Times, citing research by FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. In 2009, the report says, the average person who responded to FINRA’s financial literacy survey could answer three out of five questions.

Last year, the number had fallen to 2.6 questions, with just 4% of respondents able to find the right answer to all five questions.

These numbers have real-life implications as consumers deal with record inflation, forcing them to stretch their dollars and scramble to rework household budgets.

Speaking to PYMNTS’ Karen Webster earlier this month, Banyan CMO Andrea Gilman and Copper CEO Eddie Behringer said that financial institutions (FIs) and FinTechs could turn item-level data into new customer engagement opportunities as offers line up with spending. The same information can help households manage their cash flow more efficiently.

This is especially useful for members of Generation Z, who — along with their parents — see the value in payment tools that can help them manage their spending and develop financial literacy.

“This is really the first generation that has been hyper-attuned to the missteps of past generations,” Behringer said in an October conversation with Webster that reflected on the spending habits of yore. “[They think] it’s cool to be smart about money,” he added.

FinTechs such as Copper — which provides parent-supervised banking services to younger consumers such as personalized debits —  are “data ready” as well, said Behringer, and look to use that receipt-level info to steer families towards healthier financial lifestyles. Merchants also would do well, Copper told Webster, to leverage item-level information to give targeted, personalized offers to these younger consumers, whether they’re shopping online or off.

Teens, and Generation Z, Behringer said, “vote with their dollars. They have an awareness and an affinity for the brands they purchase from and for the products they purchase.”

How Consumers Pay Online With Stored Credentials
Convenience drives some consumers to store their payment credentials with merchants, while security concerns give other customers pause. For “How We Pay Digitally: Stored Credentials Edition,” a collaboration with Amazon Web Services, PYMNTS surveyed 2,102 U.S. consumers to analyze consumers’ dilemma and reveal how merchants can win over holdouts.

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