People in emerging markets are seeking a change to the way global money exchange and banking operates today.
This is one of the findings from Luno’s “Future of Money” survey that polled respondents in seven markets, including South Africa, to analyse the understanding and attitudes that individuals across the globe have developed towards the financial system.
Marius Reitz, GM: Africa at Luno, says: “The survey results show that emerging markets are seeking a change to the financial system which was created 75 years ago. The increase in population, changes to the distribution and inequality of wealth and the tremendous steps forward in technology means that the current financial systems need to undergo significant change.
“Individuals in these markets cannot afford to, and should no longer need to, pay extortionate exchange rates, accept national currency devaluation or lose out when they simply transfer money. Access to a more inclusive financial system will enable people everywhere to think of new and better ways of exchanging value and technology allows this.”
The survey showed that respondents have three main areas of concern with the existing financial system: economic benefit, security and transparency.
It was also clear that, where they don’t have immediate access to wealth in the way that those in developed markets do, respondents demonstrated a greater understanding of how it should work for them and are open to being more creative with how to maximise the value of what they do have. In more affluent societies knowledge, protection and understanding of money are less well developed.
For example, when asked how secure they feel about their current financial situation, South Africa (36%), Nigeria (35%) and the UK (24%) showed the highest percentage of individuals saying they did not feel very secure.
Over 91% of respondents in South Africa said they pay for a personal bank account and 75% said they use mobile banking.
The results also indicate that respondents in South Africa are savvier with their money than those in European markets, as the second highest percentage of respondents that said they invest in products (like unit trusts and stocks) came from those in South Africa.
In comparison, a high percentage of individuals from European markets; France (70%), UK (61%) and Italy (59%) said they do not usually invest with a purpose of increasing their wealth.
When respondents were asked about monthly budgeting and expenditure, only 54% of people in the UK said they set a monthly budget for personal spending, a huge comparison to the 73% that said they did in South Africa, 80% in Malaysia and 65% in Nigeria. This indicates that those in emerging markets are more cautious with their personal finances, with 66% of respondents in emerging saying the main reason for having funds is to secure their families well-being.
Many markets are struggling with their economy and we do not utilise the technology that is now available. Across all markets, the percentage of those that believe their economy in the countries in which they live is currently performing very well was low. The strongest answers came from South Africa (27%) and Nigeria (23%), where they believe their economy was performing fairly poorly.
Individuals from rural areas showed a higher percentage of negativity towards their economy than those in urban areas, this is largely down to the lack of access to the financial system in those areas. Twenty-three percent of respondents in Nigeria and 22% of respondents in South Africa said it was very difficult for them to send money overseas.
Reitz comments: “The global monetary system has changed very little over the last 75 years, especially in developed economies. Technology is advancing at a rapid speed, and we need to ensure that institutions adopt technologies that allow emerging markets to have access to money and transfer of assets – something which developed economies have built a system around to benefit a stable and strong economy.”
South Africa (22%) and Nigeria (23%) showed the highest percentage of positive attitude towards a single global currency making the current financial system better, whereas only 7% of respondents in the UK agreed. The most common answer when asked what the advantages to a single global currency would be, the majority across all markets said better for the global economy; UK (20%), France (21%), Indonesia (39%), Italy (25%), Malaysia (25%), Nigeria (39%) and South Africa (35%).
The most popular answer across all markets to what the disadvantage of a global currency would be was that countries would become less independent.
“We anticipate that developing markets will be the lead adopters of cryptocurrency coins being launched by some of the of the largest tech giants. People in emerging markets tend to be more financially savvy out of necessity, according to our research. This means that they need the benefits that new coins can offer and they understand them,” Reitz says.