More than 2.2 million Britons over the age of 70 have turned to online banking as digital channels become increasingly mainstream, according to a study from the British Bankers’ Association.
The latest ‘Way We Bank Now’ report shows that mobile banking is also gaining traction among all ages, with 475,000 apps downloaded by people aged over 60 years. However, mobile banking remains most popular with 18-34-year olds; accounting for over 7.3 million downloads, out of a total of 12 million apps across the UK.
The study - which draws on data from a variety of high street banks including Barclays, Lloyds and Natwest - claims that older customers using digital services tend to do so it just as often as younger generations in most cases. For example, online banking users at HSBC aged over 70 log-in more frequently than any other age group, the bank claims.
The figures also suggest that uptake of digital services is growing faster among older people at many high street lenders than with younger users. The Royal Bank of Scotland claims the number of customers in their 70s who have downloaded the RBS app has grown by 93 percent in the past year, more than any other age group.
“These figures shatter the myth that this technology is only for younger generations – millions of older people are avid users of banking websites and apps. Banking on the move is as much a reality for silver surfers as it is for students,” said BBA chief executive Anthony Browne.
Many high street banks have been spending more heavily in digital services as they seek to harness new technologies to reduce costs and shift focus from their branch networks, with mobile and online channels much cheaper than physical transactions. Barclays, for example, has announced cuts to frontline staff as it invests in new technologies, such as payment apps and cheque imaging services.
There are also a number a challenger banks which could launch onto the UK market in the near future with a strong focus on digital channels such as mobile and online, including Atom, Starling and Fidor Bank.
Browne added: “Customers of all ages like the fact that they can now make payments, check balances and do other banking tasks from the comfort of their home without trudging into town. It’s precisely because these technologies are so popular with people of all ages that banks are investing so heavily in them.
“Not everyone will want to harness these new services, but it’s vital that no one feels excluded from this easy-to-use technology and that banks continue to give all the support they can to those who want to learn how to join what is fast becoming a banking revolution.”