The National Bank has published a study of Belarusians’ financial literacy conducted by the Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences among 1,500 Belarusians. Last time sociologists assessed the state of our financial literacy – the knowledge and abilities that allow you to properly assess the situation on the market – was in 2013, Belsat informs.
In 2014, a similar study was conducted by the Gallup World Poll. Then Belarus took the 24th place – along with Russia, Cameroon, Kenya, Madagascar, Serbia, Togo and the United Arab Emirates – in financial knowledge among the 140 countries.
During the current study, more than half of the respondents were unable to answer or gave the wrong answer to the majority of test questions. Sociologists point out that Belarusians generally rate their level of financial literacy higher than it actually is.
“During the past few years citizens of Belarus have become much more proficient in these matters,” researchers wrote. Thus, the number of those who are financially literate at a good level has doubled compared to 2013.
Respondents performed best on the issue of discounts (84% answered correctly), liability of the guarantor (a third of correct answers), the level of inflation and a floating interest rate (2/3 of respondents).
Belarusians are worst when it comes to understanding the bond income (less than 10%), investment guarantees, bank deposits and deposits in credit unions. Interestingly, respondents were quite poorly informed about the difference between credit and debit cards (37% of correct answers), despite the fact that plastic cards are quite widely spread in Belarus.
15% of Belarusians have a negative experience in the use of financial services: a third of them had had trouble with consumer credit, even a larger proportion (37%) had a negative experience with the use of bank deposit or account.
Less than half of Belarusians believe that in the possible conflict with the bank interests of both sides will be taken into account. One third of respondents are pessimistic: people believe that the conflict will be resolved in favor of the financial institution.
In case of any problem, half of Belarusians say they will not take any action to resolve it, a third says that it will stop using the services before the end of the contract.
Loans during sale
Almost every fourth respondent said that they would get a loan to pay for education or for bargain purchase of necessary goods at the time of sale. Every fifth respondent suggested that there is a sense to take loan in situations where the loan rate is lower than the deposit rate.
Most Belarusians do not consider it important to maintain detailed records of their income and expenses, although many of them know how much they earn and spend (around 70% of respondents).
The research shows that if there is unspent money remaining before the salary, half of our fellow citizens will keep it at home in cash (55%) or buy something (50%). Occasionally Belarusians make bank deposits or keep savings on the account. Nine percent lends money to friends and relatives, and only 3% of respondents invest money in their own business, securities or valuables.
According to sociologists, nothing has changed in the last three years: Belarusians still prefer to spend the unspent money or keep it in the bank – rather than to multiply the money by using financial instruments that exist in Belarus.