E-Banking doesn’t have to be a challenge. Here are some steps banks can take to make banking simpler for their elderly customers.
With the global average life expectancy reaching over 70 years, it is more important than ever today to make services of all kinds more accessible to the elderly. The COVID-19 virus and the threat it poses to seniors has also been an important reason why they have shifted to the digital realm for their necessities.
One of the important services that older people need is Internet banking. In the U.S., nearly 83% of all wealth is held by those over the age of 50, which means that this is a crucial section of the population that banks need to market to. Let’s take a look at some of the core issues that senior citizens face and the ways in which banks can tackle these issues to make their e-services convenient for the elderly.
Tutorials for e-banking
Some questions that the elderly might come across when using e-banking services are how to use these services and whether they are reliable. They are worried that if they make mistakes or misunderstand something, they could end up losing their hard-earned money. This assumption isn’t entirely unfounded. As of 2020, there has been a 61% increase in online scam reports from those above the age of 50 in the U.S., with cybercriminals exploiting the pandemic for financial gain. This group filed 191,268 cybercrime complaints in 2020 and has lost more than US$1.8 billion from online scams.
To prevent these scams, banks need to provide tutorials that help their elderly customers use e-banking services with ease. This could include easy-to-follow digital banking lessons that tell users how to use most of the common e-services available. One of the companies providing these e-banking lessons is the U.S.-based bank holding company Capital One. It partnered with Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) to create a web-based program that consists of 44 micro-learning instructional videos that help elderly adults manage their finances online. These videos contain information on how to navigate mobile banking apps, create alerts for account activity and prevent identity theft.
Another problem that the elderly have when navigating e-banking is how to remember cumbersome passwords or log-in credentials. Seniors who encounter struggles with complicated security checks are at a high risk of entirely giving up on digital interactions.
Banks need to consider switching from these tedious security measures to using biometric fingerprints, facial recognition and digital signatures. These are not only more secure than traditional passwords but also rid seniors of the responsibility of remembering or writing down passwords. One of the banks that have been providing these digital verification services in opposition to passwords is the U.S.-based Happy State Bank. The bank uses the digital transaction platform Lightico to provide seniors with secure digital signatures, ID verification and time-stamped forms.
Proving a human touch
According to The Finance Foundation, 86% of senior citizens opt out of e-banking because they miss the human touch. Even though all transactions should be possible in an entirely contactless manner, this should not come at the cost of completely disconnecting people from banking agents.
Banks should provide on-call agent guidance so that seniors have someone to steer them step-by-step through various processes, like opening an account and filling out forms. One of the banks providing this service is the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). RBS has set up dedicated phone lines with national health service (NHS) workers and helps them in carrying out day-to-day banking services.
The main idea with e-banking is to create a comfortable banking experience for all users. Even in spite of COVID, only 2% of the over 65-year-olds have signed up for online banking. This goes to show that banks need to work harder to create services that fit the needs of their elderly customers. This could also be a great potential space for startups to create financial platforms for banks hoping to attract the elderly customer base.
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