CHILDREN should be encouraged to learn how to save money in banks to make them more financially literate in the future, an official from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said Tuesday, July 7.

During the launch of Money Matters for Kids (MMK) at the BSP Davao office, lawyer Prudence Angelita A. Kasala, director of Financial Consumer Protection Department of BSP, emphasized that students should be educated on the concept of banking at an early age.

"The habits should be formed at the age of 7 years old," she said, adding they will better understand the budgeting and investing later on.

Kasala added that children may start saving up at homes, then consider opening accounts in the banks.

BSP has 12 participating banks that offer at least a minimum of P100 to open bank accounts.

Through BSP's another project, Bangko Sentral Reaches Out, the participating banks are requested to visit the schools to put up assistance desk for students who wish to open an account.

This was the first time that the exhibit was brought to Davao City after it was first launched in 2011 in Manila.

Last year, BSP launched this in Cebu.

The BSP has so far recorded a total of 23,500 visitors in Manila and Cebu since the launching. In Davao, they are expecting more than 4,000 visitors for the two-week run.

Dottie M. Bernas, deputy director for financial consumer protection department of BSP, said the number of Filipinos with bank accounts rose to 31.3 percent in 2014 from 26.6 percent in 2011, according to the World Bank Global Findex.

Although she cannot directly attribute the increase to MMK exhibit, she added this is a good indication that more Filipinos are considering to save their money in banks.

"Kids who do not learn saving pay for a lifetime," she said.

In a press briefing, the MMK, which opened Tuesday and will run until July 17, is an interactive exhibit on financial literacy designed to provide young children aged 12 and below with a fun way of learning the concepts of money, saving, wise spending, and sharing.