Pensioners warned to ‘remain vigilant’ as number of older people using online banking boom

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Participation in online and mobile banking from older generations has grown exponentially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, as people were forced to use alternative methods to manage their money while physical banks closed due to the virus. However, the world of online money management can be a minefield for the inexperienced or uninitiated.

Tom Cheesewright, Applied Futurist at cloud banking platform Mambu, believes security measures have greatly increased on digital banking platforms, but advised older people to be wary and to watch out for potential fraud.

He said: “While security is often a major concern for this age group, many have now seen first-hand the protection measures in place as they become more familiar with online services – giving them peace of mind that their money is safe.

“As with any digital offering, there’ll always be risk associated with unauthorised access or data theft. So, it’s important that users remain vigilant for banking scams and know how to spot fraudulent or unusual activity on their account.

“This is especially true for those who are new to the online banking world but, fortunately, digital education is improving and has only been accelerated by the events of the last 18 months.”

Mamba recently produced a report which identified key groups of people who have embraced online banking in the last 18 months.

One group consisting largely of older users, which Mambu has dubbed ‘Techcelerators’, are recent converts to the world of digital banking who have adopted digital services amid physical branch closures.

Representing the largest consumer group globally, ‘Techcelerators’ have the highest average age of all the tribes identified in Mambu’s report, with 57 percent aged over 35 and more than a third (34 percent) aged over 45.

Another one of the groups is known as ‘convenience cravers’, which is defined as one-stop shoppers who want all-in-one services at their fingertips, and at no extra cost.

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This group makes up nearly a quarter (23 percent) of respondents globally and are predominantly middle-aged or older individuals — with more than half (55 percent) aged over 35.

Mr Cheesewright said: “The pandemic has caused a sea change in attitudes towards digital banking, especially among middle aged and older users.

“The rapid adoption of online services among older generations over the last 18 months is something that would have seemed unthinkable before the pandemic.

“The findings challenge the narrative that this demographic is fixated on banking in physical branches. In reality, we’re seeing that demand for online banking is booming among older customers and, actually, it’s banks that are struggling to keep up.

“These tech-savvy seniors are doing more of their shopping online and are increasingly comfortable using digital wallets and online payment platforms, like PayPal, though tend to stick to cash when shopping in stores.

“Far from getting left behind, older customers are thriving in the shift to digital and unlocking benefits they didn’t previously know were there.

“With online banking, digital converts can instantly access their money around the clock, pay bills from the comfort of their own home and get a 360-degree view of their spending.”

However, it is not just older people who have taken more of an interest in online banking, as the increased usage is a widespread development.

Indeed, Mamba found that three quarters (75 percent) of global consumers are now more likely to use digital banking in the next few months than before the pandemic.

Nearly two thirds (61 percent) of consumers globally have made greater use of digital banking services over the last 18 months and two in five (41 percent) have started using digital banking services for the very first time because of the pandemic, according to The Financial Tribes.

Mr Cheesewright said: “The banking and finance industry, which is as “legacy” as industries come, has been shaken to its very core by the sudden and overwhelming demand for digital.

“The impact of global lockdowns propelled the world forward into its own digital future, suddenly achieving a shift in attitudes towards online banking, which had previously been predicted to take years.”

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