● Seven banks have announced closures across the UK, including Two of the Big Four.
Older people and online banking is a major issue! At the start of January, seven bank branches announced closures of their high-risk banks. Of the seven, two of the UK’s four biggest banks announced a total of 94 would be closing their doors.
A total of 189 bank closures were announced. In England alone a total of 142 branch closures are expected. 23 closures are expected to occur in Scotland, 13 in Wales, and 13 to occur in Northern Ireland.
Older People & Online Banking
As banks in the UK make the jump from physical banks to digital online banking, many less tech-savvy members of society are concerned that they will be left behind.
Chums wanted to look into concerns about the banks closing. This is an issue which closely affects the older population. Chums spoke directly to some of these people to understand their concerns about digital banking.
Mr Coolter, a 74-year-old man from Lancashire, expressed his frustration with the banks’ closures. Three of his local banks have already closed their doors, with a fourth scheduled to close in the new year.
Despite reassurances that he would be able to access bank accounts through the online site or mobile app, Mr Coolter said that he struggles with online banking as he often forgets his passwords and cannot remember where he wrote them down.
No More High Street Banks
Another person who expressed concern was 86 year old Mrs Lawrence, from St. Helens. She explained that she struggles with any type of banking. She relied on her husband to handle her monetary affairs during her marriage until his death. Now, she relies on her son to help with her banking. Mrs Lawrence explained that she is often overwhelmed by technology and is grateful that her son can still help her.
In Mrs Lawrence’s particular case, she can rely on a trustworthy family member. Having to rely on the help of others with online banking leaves many people in a vulnerable position. This makes it much easier for criminals and scam artists to abuse the trust of older people.
Scams and Phishing
Scams are a big concern for older bank users. There are many different ways that scammers can use digital banking to their advantage. With online phishing criminals can gather a victim’s personal information. They can then use it to take over a victim’s bank account. They simply trick the bank into believing the victim has changed their address.
78 year old Mr William Harman spoke about how he struggled with the two-step verification process to access his online banking. He talked about how, even with guidance from family members, he struggled with what many would consider simple processes. Making a one-time payment or setting up a direct debit through online banking. One situation he has struggled with was cancelling a direct debit to a business. He said that despite various attempts, it took six months before he was finally able to cancel it.
Circumstances like these are just a small example of growing concerns. Many of our older generations are struggling with the increased reliance on online banking. Despite “alternatives” to the traditional high streets banks such as pop-up “Banking Hubs” set up by banks such as Lloyds and Halifax, it does little to reassure those who relied on the full-services of high street banks.
Other alternatives to physical banking include services offered by local Post Offices. However, you won’t be able to apply for a loan or open a new bank account.
Another alternative is the mobile banking service that several banks have started offering. Barclays and RBS bring a van or bus to your area and offer all the services you can usually get at a branch. One downside is that it relies on your availability during the times that the van/bus visits your local area.