Are your customers financially literate?

Financial literacy is an important requirement for functioning effectively in modern society, but it was pointed out at a recent conference that lenders cannot assume financial knowledge or mathematical skills and numeracy by their customers.

Customers may not say that they don’t understand something, often out of politeness.

Education about a product is different from marketing.

For example ads selling credit cards do not explain how credit cards work.

Educators say that you cannot improve a customer’s financial literacy in one conversation.

When dealing with customers you need to consider their age and ethnic and cultural background.

Not all customers have access to computers and the internet.

ASIC REPORT 481 Australian financial attitudes and behaviour tracker has regular reports on consumer surveys.

For example, the findings released on 22 June 2016 show that:

  • under 35s are more likely to indicate they have difficulty understanding financial matters than those aged 35 years and over; and
  • nearly a third of surveyed Australians find dealing with money stressful and overwhelming, with females more likely than males to report this.

The National Financial Literacy Strategy is focussed on:

  • educating young people;
  • teaching teachers; and
  • providing resources and getting schools to use them.

Consider ways your organisation can help improve the financial literacy of customers.

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