International

‘Silver Surfers’ in Britain Topping Mobile and Online Banking Growth Charts

It’s not just the young professionals getting plugged into online banking, it’s their parents and grandparents, as well.

According to a survey by the British Banking Association, British mobile banks are experiencing their fastest growth rates in online and mobile banking adaptation among customers over the age of 70, as smartphones increasingly become more available and mobile banking becomes more common. At the time of the survey, released Jan. 26, 2.3 million people in Britain over the age of 70 are now using online banking services, while 450,000 of those over the age of 60 are using mobile banking apps as well. This led to the conclusion that the older generations are adapting to e-commerce “as frequently or only slightly less” fast than the younger generations, and the idea of new technology leaving behind the older generations is now a shattered myth.

Among the banks polled in the survey, Barclay’s reported an average of 0.46 logins per week among those over the age of 80, similar to the 0.47 logins per week by those aged 35-49, which up until now was the expected target demographic. Rival bank HSBC found that logins among the elderly were actually more frequent than younger people as well, noting a 130-percent rise in mobile app downloads from HSBC accounts of those 70 and older. Away from the technology of the modern smartphone, Royal Bank of Scotland reported that 40 percent of their customers over the age of 50 have signed up for SMS alerts from the bank, as well as 185,000 of Barclay’s account holders over the age of 60.

These figures are proof, according to the BBA, that heavy investments in digital banking are paying off for major banks, and will help justify further bank branch closings in certain areas, now that more commerce is going online or over the phone lines. Albeit flawed or small in scale, major and regional banks like BBVA and Customers Bank have been rolling out mobile-only banking options that makes having bank branches obsolete. The BBA findings will further encourage established banks to devote more resources to online and mobile banking functions now that it is possible to advance technologically without leaving key demographics behind.

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