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Financial Education for Sustainable Growth

Visa launched the landmark study financial education for sustainable growth, a comprehensive report examining the perceptions, attitudes and behaviors Myanmar people have towards personal finance.

The study revealed people are optimistic about Myanmar’s near-term economic direction, job opportunities and financial security. However, the majority of people said they lack the knowledge and skills to manage modern personal finances, with only 36 percent saying that banking products and services are easy to understand.

Arturo Planell, Country Manager of Visa Myanmar said, “The study presents an opportunity for the financial industry to innovate and reconnect with consumers as the majority now see banks as safe, trustworthy and transparent. I am proud to launch this landmark study which demonstrates the people of Myanmar are very optimistic about the future state of the country. However, there is a clear gap in financial knowledge so now is the time for the industry to come together and support consumers with the necessary skills and information to manage their personal finances. People need to understand the opportunities that modern banking and electronic payments can provide to help them build financial security. I am confident providing people in Myanmar with financial knowledge will improve lives and grow the national economy.

” Three in five people surveyd said that they expect their financial situation to be better a year from now than it is today. A further 69 percent agreed that the next generation would be better off financially than the current generation. Today there are high levels of understanding of traditional financial tools, such as remittances, gold and land investments, but there is real need for more knowledge around topics such as bank accounts, electronic payments or insurance – half of urban consumers are not yet aware of credit cards or insurance. The study shows that 38 percent of urban adults have a bank account and another 49 percent wish to open a bank account, but only 16 percent consider themselves to “know quite a bit about it.” With the majority of those surveyed expressed high levels of comfort using cash nearly half said they could manage for a single day without it. Further still, almost all of the survey respondents said a cashless society is possible with 50 percent believing Myanmar could potentially become cashless in four to seven years.

“Moving from cash to digital payments will provide enormous advantages to Myanmar’s consumers, governments, and businesses, “Planell said, citing a study that found electronic payments added 55 billion Kyats to Myanmar’s economy from 2011 to 2015. Planell concluded, “At Visa we hope the ideas and insights in this study will spark and enrich public dialogues around policies and best practices that will lead to sustainable economic progress in Myanmar, encouraging all stakeholders in the financial industry to play their part as the country integrates more closely with the global economy.”