Lockdown has meant getting to the shops has become harder for everyone, not just the elderly, and it has fuelled a surge in online shopping. Not to be outdone by younger generations, the over-65s have turned to technology too and embraced online transactions during the epidemic.
A recent analysis of debit card use undertaken by Halifax found that 46 per cent of all transactions have been done online since the lockdown came into effect. This is compared to 27 per cent in February, when the population could still move around freely, reports YourMoney.
This is perhaps not surprising, but what many people may not expect is that the biggest group making the switch to digital transactions is those aged 65 and over. Just 20 per cent of individuals in this demographic were shopping online a year ago, but this has now jumped to 40 per cent.
And it’s not just shopping that the over-65s are using their digital devices for, but other services too. Halifax stated that older people are now signing up to online banking in record numbers. Comparing the first 28 days of lockdown to the preceding 28 days, online registrations for internet banking increased by 63 per cent in the oldest age group.
Continuing the trend of embracing technology during the pandemic, over-65s are also going contactless when they do need to make payments in person. While the age group were making 54 per cent of physical card transactions this way prior to lockdown, it has increased by eight percentage points to 62 per cent.
Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, told YourMoney: “The surge in online payments and demand for internet banking is primarily driven by the unprecedented situation many people currently find themselves in. When we look at this across different age groups, we have seen a much greater shift amongst those aged over 65.
“What will be interesting to see is whether this new norm continues when restrictions start to lift – especially for older groups who have previously carried out most of their spending in person.”
While completing transactions online is fairly intuitive for younger generations, it can feel like a minefield for those who aren’t used to it. It’s also to be expected that relatives may worry about their parents doing more online when they could fall foul of scams and viruses.
AgeUK has published some advice on staying safe when shopping and banking online. It could be worth going through the most important points with your elderly relatives and even printing a copy for them to refer to. They include:
- Only buy products from online retailers with a good reputation
- Beware of pop-up messages that could direct you to a fake website
- Make sure companies you use display their full contact details, as this helps to indicate they are legitimate
- Cross-check information with other sites
- Use one credit card for all internet transactions, so it can be cancelled if there’s a problem
- Be wary of anything that looks too good to be true
- See where a company is based, as consumer rights can vary in different countries