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Age-Friendly Banking


Presently, various technologies are adopted to support and facilitate services in multiple sectors, including financial institutions, which play an essential role in our daily lives. Access to financial services is a fundamental need for everyone, including the senior demographic. It is becoming more apparent that Thailand is slowly becoming an aging society characterized by people being accustomed to conventional services and offerings. Thus, this challenges financial institutions to develop a friendlier product or service for this target group. One that provides them with greater accessibility and displays that their needs and demands are seen and recognized.


ELDERLY EXCLUSION IN THE DIGITAL BANKING WORLD

According to the World Economic Forum, numerous businesses have adopted digital technology as a critical driver to boost their businesses during the recent COVID-19 pandemic. However, many of the elderly fail to access products or services provided through digital technology. Various digital innovations, including shopping, and medical consultations, are yet to be inclusive to their needs. Additionally, various global financial institutions have adopted technology to enhance their product or service offerings. And while this makes it much more convenient and fast, which response to the needs of the vast majority, some groups still need more efficient capabilities making technology a barrier rather than an enabler for them. Eurostat’s report revealed that over 77% of seniors still require assistance using smartphones or tablets, reflecting their unfamiliarity with technology adoption. They are still used to conventional, physical transactions that are no longer viable. Despite the research by Forbes, which revealed that seniors are eager to learn to use technology, especially with banking, they might be more cautious of being tricked or uncertain whether they are correctly taking actions through digital platforms. Thus, financial institutions, a critical player in the world economy, should not overlook this fact and issue. Instead, they should provide sufficient support or bridge the gap.


BEING MORE AGE-FRIENDLY

Financial institutions can take various approaches in addition to technology adoption, for instance, product development and attentive communication. Technology adoption to streamline services, such as face recognition technology, both on-site and in-app, would help remove the reliance on remembering passwords, making it easier for seniors. Furthermore, through product development, banks could make all financial products available for all groups of elders and inform the level of risks incorporated by each case. As senior groups are used to in-person discussions, they still prefer contacting the call center. Therefore, financial institutions should adapt to their communication preferences to understand and support their feelings, making seniors more likely to perceive the service provider as helpful and cheerful—aiding them in navigating uncertain territories. Besides, to provide better and more comprehensive access to the senior group as well as disabled persons, financial institutions can adopt the shared mobile branches model. This means they can provide services to smaller communities, suburbs, and rural areas; it is also a way to show that no one is left behind.


Every sector and business should be well aware that the population of elders is increasing in number. This group of consumers should have equal opportunities to access the needed products and services. Moreover, businesses can start being sustainable by reconsidering how they can offer and develop values to move forward together with the world sustainably.



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