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Is Fintech Excluding the Older Generation?

Sinead Donnelly

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older people and fintech

Managing Director of Edinburgh based charity ‘Tap into IT’ believes fintech is leaving the older generation behind.

‘Tap into IT’ provides an inclusive, locally accessible service and ongoing support to enable people to tap into the benefits of the internet and technology. Their services are aimed at older people and those with disabilities and health problems in Edinburgh.

Managing Director of the charity, Mike Ellis, explains that unless there are more services in place to assist older people with advances in technology, fintech will continue to exclude the older generation.

“Fintech is leaving older folk behind; it disadvantages them because they’re not getting an ease of access. Those who are 75 plus face a double whammy of not being able to access closing local banks and not being equipped to make use of the alternative banking technology,” he explains.

Through the charity’s support attendees, older individuals learn how to online shop and access information online as well as learning how to use email, Skype and messaging to keep in touch with loved ones.

However, Mike highlights that the majority of older people at the charity have a “phobia” of submitting their bank details online meaning that there are only around 6 users at ‘Tap into IT’ who feel confident enough to brave the world of fintech.

He also addresses the challenges the charity face when helping individuals to access their bank accounts. “You’re almost putting yourself in a line of fire- it’s difficult to help someone and look away from their bank details and bank balance,” he says.

Although many banks have provided online training courses for older people, Mike believes there needs to be more services in place for individuals who are starting to use online banking services from scratch.

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“We really need a realistic simulation of logging onto banking services online with a dummy account. The current online training courses are fairly theoretical- they don’t take the user through the process,” he explains.

“Our experience with older people is that you have to go through it again and again and again. They can’t simply do a six-week course and be expected to remember what they’ve learned without ongoing support”.

According to the 2019 EY fintech adoption trends survey, fintech has become a global mainstream, with 64% of global consumers adopting fintech. It is little surprise that fintech usage is highest among millennials, with a global average adoption rate of 48% among tech-savvy 25 to 34-year-olds. The survey highlights that those over 64 continue to be underserved by advances in fintech.

Mr Ellis says, “Many older people have a lack of confidence when it comes to online banking and are terrified of making a mistake”.

He highlights that this is a result of the proliferation of “rogues and scammers” who target older individuals.

“We’re desperately encouraging older people to venture online as it can make their lives so much easier, however the online world also presents huge risks- including a raided bank account. Older people can be unwary and so vulnerable,” he explains.

Ellis believes that as well as educating older people in how to access technology, they also need to be educated and “constantly reminded” about the dangers of the internet.

He emphasises that older people with limited mobility would also benefit significantly from being able to access fintech applications from the comfort of their own homes. “Banking apps would make a huge difference for people who find it difficult to get around,” he says.

‘Tap into IT’ aim to set up local support hubs throughout Edinburgh in accessible locations to welcome older people for some friendly and supportive IT assistance.

“Older people stand to gain a huge amount from advances in technology,” Mike adds.

“With the right support in place, there is no reason why they can’t benefit from fintech just like everyone else”.

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Sinead Donnelly

Journalist

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