NewsEconomicsOnline banking: open the experience even to over 60s

Online banking: open the experience even to over 60s

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In 2020 alone, 831 bank branches were closed in Italy and, today, there are 23,481 branches operating, 3.4% less than in 2019. This is the lowest number in the last 25 years. On the Italian territory there is a bank for every 2,522 inhabitants but out of 7,904 Italian municipalities, 2,802 are without a credit office and – consequently – even a simple ATM. And, in the meantime, demographic trends leave no room for doubt: the population is aging. At the beginning of 2021, there were almost 18 million people over sixty in Italy, representing a third of the population. Furthermore, the intertwining of the progressive digitization of finance management, the pandemic and the aging of the population makes it necessary to review the approach to online banking. In the United States, for example, the recent report by the noprofit Financial Health Network, Fintech over 50: designing for low-to-moderate-income older adults shows how app and website designers have done a decidedly inadequate job in meeting the generations later in age. Furthermore, according to the editors of the report “It is not certain that these tools are intuitive for younger people, but only that the youngest are used to getting by even with unintuitive tools, and therefore are able to use them”. In fact, it cannot be said that the generation over 60 is not digitized. The majority actively use smartphones, tablets and PCs with access to fintech solutions. In the United States, 86% of 50-year-olds and 81% of 70-year-olds have a smartphone and use it regularly. Also in Italy the use of mobile devices in the over 60 bracket is constantly growing. However, the mistrust remains. Especially low to middle income people are more reluctant and prefer to be completely in control of their money and personal information. They are particularly concerned about falling victim to fraud. One-to-one relationship with the counter clerk is often preferred because of the peace of mind given by the in-person interaction. Another point that generates great distrust are the automatic payments of accounts or bills, which, especially in the lower income brackets, generate fear of getting out of control of their finances.But there are also different priorities and needs that push the over 50 to use digital finance tools. Most fintech solutions are designed for younger users and do not speak to their needs. According to the researchers of the Financial Helath Network, however, it is not so much a question of creating ad hoc products, but of extending existing services to include the needs of other age groups, first of all that of short-term savings and management of unforeseen health issues. This, often combined with a difficulty in use – which is not so much given by age as by the sometimes convoluted and unintuitive design of sites and apps – generates an “abandonment rate” even among those who would not have reservations in the use of these tools. The changes suggested by the Financial Health Network are quite intuitive and could improve the user experience not only for the elderly. Among these: not targeting one’s services for small groups but broadening the offer in order to make it more inclusive, including over 60s in the tests of fintech products, declaring rates transparently, giving the possibility to easily pause recurring payments, and always provide “human” support to customers in case of difficulty.

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