Malaysia's overall financial literacy ranking rose to sixth place from ninth in 2010, with a score of 68 points out of 100, according to the 2012 MasterCard Worldwide Index of Financial Literacy survey.
Measured on three key components of fiscal literacy - basic money management, financial investment and planning - Malaysia significantly improved in all these areas, said MasterCard in a report by The Star.
Under basic money management - which includes day-to-day budgeting, saving money for major purchases and keeping up with bills - Malaysia moved up to 7th place from 8th in 2010. In this category, New Zealand ranked the highest.
Malaysia's ranking under financial investment also improved to 7th place from 11th in 2010, as more respondents understood their bank statements and complicated investment concepts such as inflation and diversification.
Conducted between April and June 2012, the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Financial Literacy surveyed 6,904 respondents across 14 countries within the Asia-Pacific region.
The index shows a significant improvement in Malaysia's financial understanding, noted Jim Cheah, Vice-president & Senior Country Manager at Malaysia & Brunei MasterCard Worldwide.
"Saving, budgeting and investing are all important aspects of financial management. It is encouraging to know that Malaysians are responsible when it comes to day-to-day financial planning," he added.