One in six Irish people does not have a bank account, a national survey has found.
The findings by the Financial Regulator also showed that one-third of respondents have problems keeping up with bills.
The Financial Capability Study interviewed a sample of 1,500 people across the country between November 2007 and February 2008.
The survey also found that 27% do not know how to make a complaint against a bank or financial institution.
The Financial Regulator's consumer director Mary O'Dea said: "This is the first study of its kind in Ireland and it will help us to inform and educate consumers to make them more financially capable."
Commenting on the main findings, Ms O'Dea said that 17% of people questioned may not have bank accounts because of low income levels, cultural and ethnic issues, disability or geographic isolation.
She added: "Banks and building societies in Ireland should consider how they can make their products more suitable and accessible to low-income consumers, such as providing low-cost, no-frills bank accounts."
Having a bank account is increasingly important for full participation in society, according to Ms O'Dea.
"The Financial Regulator is working to foster full access to financial services," she added.
The survey featured questions about day-to-day money management, financial planning, use of financial products and ways to get money advice.
The findings also showed that 44% of respondents were not prepared to take any risk with their savings and investments.
Consumers are more likely to shop around for financial products like mortgages and life insurance rather than credit cards and current accounts.
Established in 2003, the Financial Regulator helps consumers make informed decisions on their financial affairs.