3rd June, 2022

For an audience composed of secondary school students, teachers, universities for the senior citizens, financial supervisors, and representatives of banks and financial associations, the Portuguese Banking Association (APB) officially presented "Saber de Contas", its new financial literacy website.

Saber de Contas was designed as another tool to enlighten the general public, in particular young people and seniors, on complex issues such as credit, savings, digital security, the family budget, and others, by providing them with the information they need to make better informed and judicious financial decisions in their daily lives.

At the welcome session of this event, the Chairman of the APB stressed the importance that financial and digital literacy has in today's society and the role that the APB has played in promoting it. "If at the beginning of the 20th century written literacy was the main tool for personal empowerment, at the beginning of the 21st century, the main differentiating tool is financial literacy, alongside technological and digital empowerment", stressed Vítor Bento.

The Vice-Governor of Banco de Portugal, who opened the session, emphasised that a "good level of financial literacy protects bank customers and consumers in general, fosters financial stability and contributes to economic development and fraud prevention". Before the audience, which also included some representatives of senior universities, the head of the central bank recalled that fraud through digital channels reached "huge proportions" and therefore digital financial training and the fight against illicit financial activity were key priorities.

“It is precisely the fear of fraud and of not being able to use the new technologies that leads older people to stay clear of all things digital”, says Andreia Garcia, the Coordinator of the UNICA Senior University, who has already taken part in sessions of the APB’s digital literacy programme and who also spoke at this event. Her main concern is to empower this population so that they are not left behind. "The biggest problem is to demystify the complication that they think exists, for example, in digital means of payment, such as MBWay, and then make them lose the fear", says Andreia Garcia.

Also participating in this panel was Ana Filipa Joaquim, a teacher from the Joaquim Inácio da Cruz Sobral Group of Schools, who this year won the national edition of the European Money Quiz. A teacher of Economics, Ana Filipa Joaquim explains that she has to use multiple strategies to get students interested in these topics. "There is a big gap between what is taught in school and real life," she says. This is why she decided to take the students through real-life situations, dividing the classes into couples and having them manage a home and do the shopping. "Many were surprised by the price of toilet paper. Others were angry about the interest rates on loans," she said, and stressed the importance of initiatives such as Saber de Contas as a learning tool.

Rita Machado, the head of the APB’s financial education project, explained that all the entities that try to promote financial literacy generally suffer from the same problem - the lack of scale - stressing that this is now the focus of the APB with the launch of this new website, namely to reach the target audiences more effectively and with greater impact.

Closing the presentation session, the Minister of Education, João Costa, argued that empowering the population for financial literacy is empowering for human rights.

"A citizen who is not able to manage his or her budget, to read a form from his/her bank, to manage his/her insurance, to plan his/her tax life, is a citizen who is more vulnerable to exclusion", said the governor, explaining that "bad management leads to poverty".