Banks encouraged to create 'age-friendly' branches for 'less digitally savvy' older people

Age UK said older people suffered as a result of local branch closures and were less likely to use online banking

Harriet Sinclair
Saturday 30 April 2016 23:57
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Older people reportedly miss face-to-face banking
Older people reportedly miss face-to-face banking

Banks are being encouraged to create “age-friendly” branches for older people who are “less digitally aware”.

The charity Age UK has focused on banks and buildings societies in its Age Friendly Banking report, which says many older people have been left without access to basic banking services due to the closure of more than half of all UK bank branches over the last 25 years.

Its report cited the cost of accessing online services, fear about fraud and a lack of computer skills as barriers to older people using online banking, encouraging banks to find new ways to provide the face-to-face service older customers were found to prefer.

Charity Director at Age UK, Caroline Abrahams, said: "Older people often tell us about the challenges they face when it comes to managing their money. The increasing reliance on online methods is difficult for many and bank branch closures can leave older people feeling high and dry, but we have been heartened to hear about some creative and successful approaches that work well for older people and for banks and building societies too.

"The examples highlighted in our report show that by listening to older people and implementing new approaches intelligently, the financial services sector can make real progress towards meeting the needs of an ageing society. That’s why we’re urging every financial service provider to put “age-friendliness” at the heart of their propositions. Not only is this good for older people, it can make great business sense as well."

The charity suggested making use of Post Office services, introducing older people to telephone banking - where they could be helped by a real person on the other end of the phone - and having branches that are mobile or shared with other banks in order to provide a service for the elderly.

It also suggested that such services would be beneficial in the long-term as they would continue providing for the next generation of older people.

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