Did you know that a “loan shark” is a colloquial expression that describes someone who offers credit at unfair conditions and operates outside the regulated banking system? A loan shark may grant credit quickly and without asking for security, but the borrower will usually have to pay excessively high interest. Or did you know that “BIC” stands for the international eight-digit or eleven-digit Business Identifier Code that has replaced the former bank code as a unique identifier of banks and other companies around the world? Or that because the BIC is included in the IBAN code, it no longer has to be stated separately for money transfers within the European Union? As the world of finance becomes more complex, most of us aren’t able to keep up. A lack of knowledge and skills in financial affairs has negative consequences for the economy, but also for society and culture.
The Erste Financial Life Park (FLiP), a facility for innovative financial education, promotes know-how in money matters. It offers 1,500m² of interactive exhibition space and much more besides. The FLiP Experience visitor programme combines with the FLiP Library, FLiP Lab and FLiP Web to create an information platform about money, the economy and entrepreneurship. The FLiP Experience takes visitor groups to a series of stations along a “learning trail”. The sequence of the stations can be modified to suit the needs of each group and tailor the content accordingly. A collection of money boxes rounds off the FLiP Experience. The aim of FLiP is to raise interest in finance and the economy among children, young people and adults and to promote and strengthen responsible management of personal finances. Since opening its doors at Erste Campus, FLiP has had more than 60,000 visitors. In addition, the interactive FLiP2Go tours Austria 250 days a year.
Money plays an important role in our lives. It therefore makes sense to actively address money issues – something which only very few people do. But we need a sound grasp of basic financial facts to cope with the money issues in our lives and manage our personal finances. Everybody needs skills and knowledge in the financial field to be able to take the right financial decisions and participate successfully in economic activities. Financial education is a powerful tool to improve people’s individual lives and advance society at large. Money management skills are crucial in the struggle against growing indebtedness among young people.