What do people expect from a financial awareness platform?
Before the design of the PROFIT platform, we investigated individual attitudes and user requirements for specific resources and features of a financial awareness platform, along with explicit motivations and incentives for participating and contributing to the PROFIT Web platform. The investigation was conducted with the use of a custom-made online survey aimed at eliciting users’ self-assessed financial knowledge, financial capability and awareness, along with facets of their financial behavior. Additionally, it entailed questions regarding their attitude towards technology and Internet usage. More specifically, the questionnaire covered the following aspects: (a) demographic characteristics; (b) financial behavior; (c) financial knowledge; (d) financial sentiment, news and informational retrieval; (e) financial literacy training requirements; and (f) technological literacy and incentives compatibility requirements.
The survey questionnaire, which comprised 35 questions, was translated into six languages and available to the wider public online. It was completed by 494 respondents from different demographic and target user groups and was analyzed during the summer of 2016. The detailed content of the English version of the questionnaire can be found here. The results of the analysis indicate that the sample obtained in the PROFIT survey is a sample of highly educated individuals, with one third of the sample being above the Masters level, almost 60% being at Masters level and above, and 86.4% being educated above the high school level. Nonetheless, nearly half of the respondents, i.e. 46.6%, assessed their financial knowledge as neither high nor low, whereas 16.8% of the respondents found it to be relatively low and 4.1% characterized it as very low. The three user groups that appeared more knowledgeable with respect to finance were financial service employees, entrepreneurs, and investors.
Regarding any specific financial-literacy content of a financial education toolkit, which respondents see as relevant, the highest ranking content was savings and investment products: planning for the long-term, short and medium-term saving, and saving for retirement planning. The analysis of the responses also suggest that important factors encouraging participants to use the PROFIT platform would be, among others, its ease of use, resources, and the inclusion of personalized recommendations, while the highest scoring activities on the platform were participating in polls and providing feedback to the platform. Lastly, the user incentives for participating on the PROFIT platform that elicited the most positive responses were the following:
- Access to more advanced data/rights
- Moderation status
- Social interactions and invitations to social events
- More accurate personalized recommendations
Respondents were overall quite positive towards using a Web platform such as the PROFIT platform. Interestingly, more “experienced” user groups in terms of financial knowledge (e.g. professionals in financial services/financial experts, collective investors/borrowers/third sector organizations, entrepreneurs), as well as parents of children scored higher regarding the likelihood to use the PROFIT platform for their personal financial needs. Summarizing, the responses to the online survey suggest that the creation of a trusted, reliable platform providing certain services towards financial awareness would prove to be beneficial. In fact, an interesting conclusion that emerged from the analysis of the online survey results was the existing discrepancy between the high figures of people who do not know how to seek for information regarding changes in financial trends and services, and the rather low figure for the use of specialized websites.
On the other hand, it was found that the diversity of the sample is an important factor that should be considered; the questionnaire was distributed in six countries, all within the EU, but with different economic situations and regulation. Additionally, the platform functionalities that will be developed and tested have to be practically feasible to implement, as well. Therefore, the diversity of the target audience and its motives for using and participating in such a platform are important factors that should be taken into account for the design of the platform.
The resulting findings indicate once more that the PROFIT Web platform is likely to address a strong, existing need in the market for financial knowledge/information Web tools. For more information about the online survey and its results, please click here.