Posted February 12, 2011 by Simon in News

Internet Banking usage increasing amongst over-55′s

A OnePoll survey of over-55′s found 70% are currently using the internet to manage their finances. Almost half are also logging on to source pension schemes, independent financial advice and stocks and shares.

Experts believe the shift may have been encouraged by better interest rates, product ranges and general convenience on-line.  But if their attitudes to retail are anything to go by, a quarter of internet users aged 55 and over are also banking on-line to avoid dealing with “irritating” shop assistants and to escape the maddening crowds.

The findings were compiled by market research specialists SilverPoll, and were released for the first time yesterday. It surveyed 2,000 Britons aged 50 and over as part of an-depth report into their general on-line buying habits.

Managing Director William Higham said the findings show greater confidence levels of today’s older internet users.  He said:

“The over-50s are spending more and more time online. In fact, many older internet users now prefer to buy tickets, CDs and DVDs online than in person.

“The more confident they become on-line, the more of their offline tasks they will try to perform that way. Indeed, 95% of over-50 internet users have shopped on-line and 70% have booked a holiday online, so it makes sense to see them banking on-line too.

“In fact, our survey shows that the over-50s are more confident in their on-line banking abilities now than those in their 30s or 40s.”

The company found that 70% of people aged 55 and over have used on-line banking, and that 43% has searched for information about pensions.

In fact, 60 per cent of over-55 year-olds believe they are “good” at online banking, compared with only 56 per cent of 18-24 year-olds, and 55 per cent of 35-44 year-olds.

But despite the rise in internet banking, almost half of respondents (42%) said they remained fearful of their financial safety on-line, but 61% are aware of the dangers but “happily” bank on-line on a regular basis.

One reason they prefer some websites to others is design. Some 44% think websites can be harder for older people to navigate around, while 15% said the font on some websites was too small.  Overall, 82% of older people see the internet as a “good thing” generally, and 78% are glad it was invented.

Almost a quarter (42%) first ventured on-line because they thought it would be “useful” to do so. But 28% did so because a family member encouraged them, or because they “bit the bullet” and bought a personal computer.

Mr Higham, of SilverPoll, said:

“With 11 million over-50s now online, it’s increasingly important that financial companies consider their needs and behaviours when creating their online strategy.

“And, though many of these silver surfers are now as confident on-line as their younger counterparts, it must be remembered that their needs and behaviours can be very different .”