New Approaches to Banking for the Older Old

Although there are more people aged eighty and over in the UK than ever before, current banking systems fail to cater to them. It is now almost impossible to opt out of having a bank account, using a chip and pin, and transferring money digitally—things of which many people aged eighty and above have no experience. Beyond the difficulty inherent in adapting to new systems, people in this age group may not know how to use the internet, struggle to remember PIN numbers, or be unable to travel to banks to withdraw money. For many, therefore, the phasing out of old methods of cash handling is confusing and makes them feel (or actually causes) a loss of financial control.

In response to the obvious need for the banking system to do more to be inclusive of the eighty-something age group, the aim of this project was to design innovative, provocative digital technologies that would enable this group to handle their finances more easily and highlight the ways in which the current system is failing older citizens. We conducted semi-structured interviews with older people and representatives from the financial sector to learn about issues relating to ageing and finance. Eleven people aged eighty to eighty-seven were invited to take part in a series of participatory design workshops to develop prototypes for new approaches to banking that would address some of the issues raised.

Among the prototypes we developed were:

The Biometric Daemon, a secure PIN reminder,
Digital Cheques to better integrate the traditional cheque, popular among our interviewees, with modern banking systems.
Guardian Angel, an application that would enable people to give delegates restricted access to their money on their behalf.
Questionable Concepts, a provocative exploration of ideas about money-related scenarios.

Date: May 2010 – April 2012
Funding: EPSRC (Digital Economy Programme) £7,947 + £168,264
Researchers:  Patrick Olivier, Feng Li (Business School), Paul Dunphy, Isaac Teece, Dan Jackson,  John Vines, Cas Ladha, Stephen Lindsay, Karim Ladha, Rachel Phillips, Vasilis Vlachokyriakos
Collaborators: Andrew Monk (PI) (University of York) and John Clark , Mark Blythe (Northumbria University), Jayne Wallace (Northumbria University)
Partners: Alex Aldler (Barclays Bank), Lucy Malenczuk (Age UK), Bruce Davis (Zopa)

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