Digitisation primarily targets Generation Z and Millennials due to their strong inclination towards online activities. However, a significant and untapped market for banks is senior citizens, who often get overlooked.

Financial institutions tend to underestimate the potential of senior citizens and their desire to embrace digital services. It is commonly assumed that they are technophobes who prefer traditional methods like pen-and-paper or face-to-face interactions. However, reality tells a different story. According to a study conducted by the Financial Health Network, 71% of customers over the age of 60 own a smartphone, and 94% of them use their devices daily. What’s interesting is that two-thirds of smartphone users over 50 do not use their devices for banking services. The reasons behind this drop in smartphone usage for banking remain unclear.

It’s worth noting that people over the age of 50 in the US control 53.2% (equivalent to $62.09 trillion), making them a highly influential group in terms of finances. Banking institutions should recognise the potential of this demographic and tailor their digital services accordingly. The same reasons that drive banks to embrace digitization—cost-effectiveness, efficiency, and improved customer experience (CX)—are equally applicable to seniors. It is high time to include them in the digital banking movement.

What’s stopping them from adopting digital banking?

All age groups, including digital natives, lack tolerance for poor online experiences and onerous security precautions. The phrase “choppy journeys” captures the annoying interruptions and inefficiencies people experience when interacting with the internet. These can show up as sluggish video playback, lengthy loading times, or general slowness, which decreases user happiness. In addition, security procedures can occasionally be complicated and time-consuming. Multiple verification processes, two-factor authentication, and complicated password requirements can all aggravate users and make them impatient.

Younger generations might be more tolerant of flaws in online products, but they are nonetheless susceptible to these irritations. Still, they make do, as they are accustomed to digital platforms and are more inclined to discover workarounds. Whereas older customers lack the digital dexterity and technological expertise that younger generations have acquired through their exposure to technology from an early age. Resulting in them being weary about adopting digital banking in general.

The Finance Foundation states that 86% of seniors reject online banking because they “want people, not machines.”

Finally, we are aware of the consequences of wanting to move operations to the cloud and create a fully functional online presence. It is crucial to understand, however, that agent engagement should not be eliminated by remote and digital banking. Completely eliminating human interaction can have detrimental effects, especially for senior users who depend on it. It is important to keep in mind that omnichannel communication requires not just a variety of channels but also an important component of interpersonal engagement.

Designing a senior-friendly banking experience

In order to prevent seniors from abandoning digital channels and reverting to traditional branches, banks must prioritise designing online journeys that are straightforward, smooth, and free of obstacles. It is crucial to create a seamless and frictionless experience for older customers, ensuring that they feel comfortable and confident when conducting their banking activities online. By focusing on simplicity and removing any unnecessary complications, banks can successfully retain senior users and encourage their continued engagement with digital platforms.

a) Simplified access:
Banks should explore user-friendly ID verification methods like biometric fingerprints and facial recognition instead of relying on complex Single Sign-on (SSO) or frequently changing passwords.

b) Streamlined digital journeys:
Integrate intuitive technologies such as digital signatures, instant photo ID verification, and supportive on-phone guidance to help seniors navigate digital processes seamlessly within a single channel.

c) Clear and helpful access points:
Create simplified mobile apps and web pages with larger displays and user-friendly UIs that offer clear instructions, easy wayfinding, and immediate feedback to guide elderly users effectively.

d) Engaging cognitive experiences:
Incorporate gamification elements and updated online demos that engage elderly customers without requiring personal information, fostering confidence and sustaining their interest in banking services.

e) Voice-based assistance:
Utilise AI/ML-powered voice interactions to understand user needs, provide real-time instructions, and ease the burden of remembering complex online procedures. Train chatbots with better natural language processing to address the specific requirements of older customers.

f) Human support with analytics:
Ensure easy access to live agents who can provide real-time guidance during online interactions, leveraging analytics to detect user preferences and connect seniors with their preferred representatives.

g) Enhanced user experience and fraud prevention:
Utilise analytics to intelligently detect transaction patterns, provide clear on-screen instructions, and proactively identify and communicate potential fraud risks to protect elderly customers while offering a smooth digital experience.

Is your bank ready to deliver a seamless experience to the experienced?

Today, senior citizens are increasingly embracing digital banking and have access to the necessary tools. However, banks must take proactive steps to better cater to their needs. By optimising journeys, addressing security apprehensions, offering prompt human assistance, and developing educational resources, banks can ensure that their digital services are truly inclusive for customers of all ages.

Is your bank taking the right steps to ensure they are onboarded online?

Jishith Gangadharan

Jishith is a marketing strategist with more than 16 years experience in IT industry. He has extensive experience across various facets of marketing in the industry. Jishith spearheads marketing and communications for Clayfin. Outside office, he enjoys travelling, reading and aquascaping.

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