Washington, DC – As Financial Literacy Month begins, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association (NBPCA) today released the results of the 2013 Financial Literacy Survey. In its seventh year, the survey annually provides data and trending around Americans' attitudes and behaviors related to personal finance.
"This year's survey results provided somewhat of a mixed message," said Susan C. Keating, president and CEO of the NFCC. "More than one in four consumers indicated they are spending more than last year, yet 77 percent admitted to having financial worries, listing insufficient savings as their top financial concern. While consumers moving out of recession mode and becoming more comfortable with spending is positive for the nation's economy, they need to be mindful of the fact that increasing spending without a safety net in the form of savings could have a negative impact on their personal economy."
Regarding consumer responses around financial concerns, respondents were asked which areas of personal finance currently worry them the most, and were allowed to select multiple responses, with results as follows:
The good news is that 20 percent of U.S. adults indicated they do not have any financial worries, a strong sign of consumer confidence.
Remaining stubbornly consistent over the past three years, 40 percent of U.S. adults gave themselves a grade of C, D, or F on their knowledge of personal finance, thus it is not surprising that nearly four in five (78%) agree that they could benefit from additional advice and answers to everyday financial questions from a professional.
There is ample opportunity for consumers to improve their level of financial literacy and take steps to resolve their financial problems. Although the plurality of U.S. adults indicated that, if they were having financial problems related to debt, they would first turn to their friends and family for assistance (28%), a similar number (27%) also said they would reach out to a professional nonprofit credit counseling agency for help, demonstrating a high level of confidence in the value of credit counseling.
"The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association (NBPCA) was excited to partner with NFCC again this year for the annual Financial Literacy survey. Consumers continue to choose prepaid cards for convenience, safety, and security. The new findings revealed that 24 percent of prepaid customers said prepaid was their only option, and 71 percent indicated they wish they had the opportunity to enroll in overdraft protection for unexpected situations," remarked Kirsten Trusko, president and Executive Director, NBPCA.
"When managing their money, convenience and safety were once again some of the top reasons cited by the 6 percent of Americans who typically use prepaid debit cards to pay for everyday transactions. Further, 81 percent said prepaid cards were a better value and cost less than using a credit card or debit card attached to a checking account," added Trusko.
Other prepaid card findings include:
About the Survey
The 2013 Financial Literacy survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the NFCC (National Foundation for Credit Counseling) and the NBPCA (the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association) via its QuickQuery omnibus between March 4 and March 6, 2013 among 2,037 adults ages 18+, of whom, 91 use prepaid debit cards for everyday transactions [small base (n<100) – results should be interpreted as qualitative, or directional, in nature]. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online. Prior to this year, this survey was conducted by telephone. The full survey will be available Tuesday, April 1 in the Newsroom on the NFCC website www.NFCC.org, and on the NBPCA website at http://nbpca.org/en/Research-and-Publications.aspx.
 Calculation based on U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 Census, which estimates there are 234.6 million adults ages 18+ residing in the United States: 234.6M x 0.26 = 60.996M.
 Calculation based on U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 Census, which estimates there are 234.6 million adults ages 18+ residing in the United States: 234.6M x 0.18 = 42.228M.
 Caution – small base (n<100). Results should be interpreted as qualitative, or directional, in nature.