Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Targeting the unbanked-financial literacy's magic bullet?

Tatom, Jojn and Godsted, David (2006): Targeting the unbanked-financial literacy's magic bullet? Published in: Networks Financial Institute Report No. 20060NFI-02 (14. November 2006)

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Abstract

Adult financial illiteracy is a major problem in the US and elsewhere. Financial fraud and poor performance in managing personal finances go hand in hand. The nation’s bankruptcy and home mortgage foreclosure rates rate have continued to climb despite improving employment opportunities, rapid growth in the nation’s income and bankruptcy reform aimed at making bankruptcy filing less necessary and more difficult. America’s personal savings rate hovers in negative territory. As new financial services and technologies proliferate, many low income persons are being left in the dust, often unable to participate in cost saving or high-return opportunities, or they are offered new services only on very unfavorable terms. At the same time, lack of financial and technological safeguards has made it easier to exploit all individuals through identity theft, mortgage fraud, or legal, but financially dubious, new products. In some cases, new technology is being forced on low-income individuals by a coordinated federal push for electronic payment of benefits. While an imposition on the otherwise unbanked, increasing access to financial institutions may provide a useful introduction to a higher level of financial information and literacy, as well as enhancing their confidence and ability in financial management.

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