Income and wealth not the driver for prosperity

Defining financial prosperity: PayU’s Financial Prosperity Barometer survey gives insights on different definitions of prosperity and the impact of access to financial services in emerging markets.

The meaning of prosperity

  • Three quarters of people with a below-average income for their country report feeling prosperous
  • Six in ten people across high-growth markets say access to financial services has helped improve their prosperity
  • Three quarters think their government has a responsibility to improve access to financial services


London, 6th November 2019: A landmark study into the relationship between financial services and prosperity across high-growth markets around the world has revealed that people’s definition of prosperity is more linked to financial security and peace of mind than to current income and wealth.


PayU’s Financial Prosperity Barometer

The research by PayU, the payments and fintech business of Prosus – spun out from global technology investment giant Naspers – found that three quarters of people in high-growth markets do not identify wealth and income as a driving factor of prosperity. In fact, three quarters of people with a below-average income for their country report feeling prosperous. Instead, the top drivers for prosperity are being happy with your life, good health for your friends and family, having a good and stable job, and having enough savings for the future.



Only a quarter of people in high-growth markets view wealth as a top factor for prosperity, with this rising to 36% in the Middle East and Africa and dropping down to 9% in South America. Health united all high-growth regions, however, ranking as the top factor driving prosperity across Asia, Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe.


Access to financial services is key to people’s prosperity

The study of over 10,000 consumers revealed that six in ten people believe financial services have helped them become more prosperous. Nine in ten people were able to directly recognize the benefits of financial services, ranging from depositing money and transferring money to saving and growing their money.



According to PayU’s Financial Prosperity Barometer, people find it easier to identify the emotional benefits of financial services than the practical benefits. For example, 99.5% of people were able to recognize an emotional benefit of saving money, such as peace of mind, compared to 97.9% who could see a practical benefit, such as being able to plan for the future.



Despite nine in ten people stating that they have access to at least one financial service, three quarters of people think that their government should be doing more to improve access. In regions self-reporting the highest access to one or more financial services, namely Asia and Middle East / Africa, people in fact showed a higher preference for their government to do more.



Laurent le Moal, CEO of PayU

 “Understanding how access to financial services impacts prosperity takes us to the heart of human behaviour and brings us one step closer to building a world without financial borders where everyone can prosper. Global fintech leaders and governments have a huge responsibility to build the right services to ensure each individual can access and utilise financial services to improve their own feelings of prosperity. Technology is at the very core of this mission and must be used at every stage of the journey to best deliver financial services to citizens globally.”





To uncover the link between perceptions of prosperity and access to financial services across high-growth markets globally, we surveyed over 10,500 adult respondents across 18 countries within Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and the Middle East, with an even split across gender and age.


The countries surveyed were: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Greece, Slovakia, Turkey, Israel, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, North India (New Delhi), West India (Mumbai), East India (Kolkata) and South India (Bengaluru).