Older Australians are doing more online banking, but many are still apprehensive about accessing financial services over the internet.

In general, more older people are going online. With 55% of 65s and over doing so in 2017- up from 51% in 2015, according to a report by the Australian Payments Network.

The increased usage extends to online banking, with some 58% of people aged 65 and over saying that doing their banking is a key reason for going online. Nonetheless, this lags younger age groups, with 93% of 25-to-34 year-olds nominating banking as a reason for going online.

A customer analysis last year by the Commonwealth Bank found that older Australians are increasingly using online banking and ATMs, suggesting a shift away from the over-the-counter services traditionally favoured by older people.

The bank said one in four customers over 65 is now banking digitally through the NetBank and CommBank app – a 41 per cent increase from two years earlier.

Despite the rise, many older people can still be nervous about technology and many are worried about making expensive mistakes, says Jess Wilson, chief executive of the Good Things Foundation.

“There is a reluctance to engage with financial services online – whether that’s banking or whether that’s paying bills online,” she says. “If people haven't used the internet or technology much before, starting with banking is something they are reluctant to do, because they are worried they may get scammed or lose money.”

The Foundation aims to help people use digital technology to improve their lives and fully take part in today’s society. It has a particular focus on rolling out the government-funded Be Connected program to support people aged over 50 learn new digital skills.

While some older Australians find some new technology challenging, they generally have higher levels of financial wellbeing than younger people and were less likely to be ‘struggling’ financially, according to a recent report RMIT University for ANZ.

Businesses are responding

Wilson says it is important older people are given the opportunity to learn how to be safe online through programs like Be Connected and have someone to guide and help build their confidence.

“Most people will start to engage online if they realise they can find out more about something they are interested in – whether that's family history, connecting with relatives who live overseas or learning more about motorbikes or gardening,” Wilson says. “Once they build their confidence doing this, they are much more likely to move on to something like online shopping or banking.”

Nonetheless, businesses are also recognising that this is changing and older people are more open to online transactions.

For instance, older holiday company travelat60 offers holidaymakers the option of paying with BPAY as well as credit cards.

In fact, according to the latest RFi Group payments diary, Australians aged over 65 are the most frequent users of BPAY, with about half using it at least once a month, compared with 45% for the broader population. They are also the most frequent users of credit cards and direct debit payments.

Among newer payment methods, older Australians are the least enthusiastic about adopting mobile payments, with around 45% saying they don’t intend to make use of the service, compared with just a third of the general population.

Likewise, the over-65s are least aware of Osko®, with only 5% having heard of Osko by BPAY® in May of this year, compared with close to one-in-five for the 25-to-35 age group.

Osko by BPAY is simple to use because it is built into existing online banking facilities and can make life more convenient for Australians.

It’s safe to assume that, just as older Australians embraced BPAY, they will also embrace other new technologies that prove their worth – with a little help from businesses and the community.

This article represents the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BPAY.
Published by BPAY Pty Ltd.  BPAY payment products are offered by over 150 Financial Institutions. Contact your Financial Institution to see if it offers BPAY payment products and to get the terms and conditions. This is general advice – before using BPAY payment products please review the terms and conditions and consider whether BPAY payment products are appropriate for your personal circumstances.

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