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Release of the results of the Second Survey on the Financial Literacy of the Portuguese Population

The National Council of Financial Supervisors has today published the results of the Second Survey on the Financial Literacy of the Portuguese Population, conducted in 2015, within the framework of the National Plan for Financial Education, five years after the first nationwide diagnosis carried out by Banco de Portugal.

The 2015 Survey on Financial Literacy reveals the population's levels of financial literacy in its three components: attitudes, behaviour and knowledge. It also identifies the areas and population groups with greater financial literacy deficit.

The Survey included a number of questions that had already been included in the 2010 Survey, making it possible to compare results. However, the 2015 Survey had a wider outreach, counting on the participation of the three financial supervisors, and as part of the international comparison exercise of financial literacy levels implemented by the International Network on Financial Education (INFE) - the financial education network of the OECD – whose results were released on 12 October.

The survey was based on 102 multiple-choice questions. It was conducted through face-to-face interviews across the whole national territory, with a sample of 1,100 respondents aged 16 or over, stratified according to criteria of gender, age, geographical location, employment situation and schooling level.

Main results

The results of the Second Survey on the Financial Literacy of the Portuguese Population, conducted in 2015, reveal high financial inclusion of the Portuguese population, with these indicators improving from 2010. In 2015, 92.5% of the respondents hold at least one demand deposit account (88.9% in 2010), increasing to 93.5% among those aged over 18 (90.7% in 2010). Around 73% of the respondents in 2015 hold at least one insurance product and 4.4% of the respondents invest in the stock market.

Savings habits have also improved, although there are some signs of inertia in investing savings in financial products. In 2015, 59% of the respondents have savings habits (52% in 2010), but 60.8% of savers claim to deposit money in a demand deposit account.

Attitudes and behaviour regarding the management of the household budget tend to be prudent, based on a judicious analysis of expenses. Most respondents reported preferring saving before buying, keeping a close watch on their personal finances, making timely bill payments and not having too much debt.

With regards to the choice of financial products, 2015 results reveal high confidence levels of the respondents in institutions in line with 2010 results. Around 83% of the respondents claim to read the pre-contractual information on financial products made available by institutions, although this is not always key to decision-making. Over-the-counter advice is key to choosing financial products for 59.1% of the respondents, followed by advice from family and friends (51.1%).

As regards financial knowledge, replies continue to show some gaps, both in terms of general financial numeracy skills and of concepts directly related to financial products. As to numeracy skills, 58.4% of the respondents could calculate simple interest correctly, but only 39.5% were able to recognise the effect of compound interest. As to banking products, 82% identified correctly the balance of a demand deposit account in a bank statement, but only 21.4% understood the meaning of 'spread' and 10.5% of 'Euribor'. As for insurance, 62.7% were familiar with the meaning of ‘insurance premium’ and 46.2% of ‘insurance deductibles’. With respect to investment products, there is some knowledge about shares, but only 4% could tell the meaning of ‘guaranteed capital’ of a security.

Population groups with higher financial literacy deficit are the young and the elderly, the students, the unemployed, retired persons and women, as well as those with lower schooling and income levels. These must be the priority groups to be targeted within the financial education strategy. 

Results of the international study conducted by the OECD/INFE

The OECD/INFE has recently released the results of an international comparative study on financial literacy levels [1], which enable a comparison between the situation in Portugal and in a group of 30 countries, including 17 OECD countries, based on a set of common questions in the questionnaires used in the different countries.

Financial literacy is analysed by INFE on the basis of its three components: attitudes, behaviour and knowledge. An aggregate indicator of each component is calculated for each country, as well as a global financial literacy indicator.

Among the 30 countries analysed, Portugal ranks 5th in the financial attitude indicator, 8th in the financial behaviour indicator, and 13th in terms of financial knowledge. 

Within the global financial literacy indicator, Portugal holds the 10th place, above the average of all countries analysed and the 17 OECD countries that participated in the international study.


Lisbon, 21 October 2016