Everyday money

How to help a loved one get over their worries about digital banking

Aug 11, 2020
Helping a family member or friend get to grips with digital banking for the first time is easy and can make a real difference to their everyday life.

If there’s been an upside to Covid-19, it’s that it has been a good learning period. Self-isolation means you’ve probably tested your limits when it comes to technology – from ordering groceries online to jumping on a video chat with your family, most people have had a go at something new.

If this sounds like you, you’re right in line with other 60-pluses. Older Aussies really did make the most of their devices during the country’s lockdown, with 70 per cent telling a new National Seniors survey that they used their smartphones and tablets to stay informed, 57 per cent to keep entertained and almost 75 per cent to stay in touch with family.

One of the online services some older Australians typically find harder to adapt to, though, is digital banking. That’s despite online accounts and banking apps proving super-helpful to most people during self-isolation, when heading into the local branch wasn’t an option and touching cash was better avoided.

So, what’s putting some 60-pluses off digital banking? Worries about security of online accounts, for one, followed by what seems like a load of added complexity involving multiple passwords, and a simple lack of confidence in using new technology. That’s according to research by ANZ, which also found even older people who were confident users of social media and e-commerce were sometimes wary of digital banking.

A real life-changing experience

That was Ailsa Wight before Covid-19. She’d been an ANZ customer since the late 1970s but refused to switch to digital banking because she was concerned about the security of online accounts and nervous that she’d make a mistake if she used a computer or device to undertake transactions.

But with self-isolation making it impossible for the 84-year-old and her husband Les to get to a bank branch or even to an ATM, the couple started running short of cash to pay for the groceries their grandkids were picking up for them.

Ailsa Wight (pictured with her husband Les) had reservations about digital banking before getting started, but now says it’s simple, easy and convenient.
Ailsa Wight (pictured with her husband Les) had reservations about digital banking before getting started, but now says it’s simple, easy and convenient.

Granddaughter Jemma Wight suggested it was time she made the move online, so Ailsa used her phone to get help from ANZ to set up the customer registration number (CRN) she needed to register for digital banking. Then, all it took was downloading the ANZ Australia app on her smartphone, and she was good to go– and admits now that using digital banking was far simpler than she expected.

“It was much easier than I thought it would be and I do feel secure with it,” she says. “I used it to pay the grandchildren who are doing our shopping and leaving it at the front door. Being able to transfer money to their accounts was very convenient.”

If you’d like to make the leap like Ailsa, but have the same concerns holding you back, it’s worth exploring whether they’re well-founded or are misconceptions that are robbing you of one of life’s great conveniences.

How secure is digital banking?

Most people’s first worry – and rightfully so – is the safety of their money. Seeing your savings on a computer screen rather than in your passbook can be bit scary if you’re not familiar with the security systems banks have in place.

The Australian Banking Association says that customer security is the top priority for banks – and they’ve had many years to work on it, given that online banking’s been around since the 1980s.

For example, ANZ has several layers and a range of security measures in place to ensure your funds are safe – and these are typical of many of Australia’s banks.

Firstly, your funds are protected through state-of-the-art technology that monitors transactions for suspicious activity. If an unusual transaction is made with your ANZ account – such as a purchase in a country other than the one you reside or even a purchase that isn’t typical of your buying habits –  the bank will contact you to let you know, then temporarily freeze your account so no further transactions can be made while the issue is investigated.

If your account has been subject to a fraudulent transaction, in most circumstances ANZ will refund any money you’ve lost. (Of course, you need to have kept up your half of the bargain by keeping your passwords, security devices and PINs secure, because it’s more difficult for the bank to identify fraud if the correct password or PIN is used on an account.)

Secondly, your personal data is encrypted so that even if a hacker accessed the banking system, they wouldn’t be able to read your account information. Thirdly, if you leave your online account open by mistake, ANZ makes sure you’re automatically logged out after 15 minutes so no one else can sneak a peek at your account details.

Plus, you’ll get prompted with an in-app message when it’s time to update your banking app whenever a new, even smarter version is released, so you always have the latest security.

Finally, if you opt for two-factor authentication on your account, you’ll also receive SMS or email notifications when a transaction such as a money transfer is made with your account, so you’re always aware of money being moved from your account and have the opportunity to prevent any transfers.

Not to mention, there’s a very real fraud prevention team available around the clock to assist ANZ customers who fear their account may’ve been subject to fraud. That’s A LOT of security!

Isn’t digital banking more complicated?

The idea of adding another app to your smartphone or remembering yet another password can seem like a pain. But the truth is that digital banking is no more complicated than using, say, Facebook or accessing your email account, and you’ll be repaid for making the change with so much time saved by not having to go into a branch or find an ATM.

You can choose whether to do your digital banking via the internet using a web browser such as Google’s Chrome, Apple’s Safari or Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, or on your smartphone or tablet via an app. Either way, like Ailsa, you’ll simply need to ensure your account is registered for digital banking use, set up your security layers like we described above and – that’s it!

ANZ has created a number of step-by-step demonstration videos that walk you through the process of getting set up for digital banking, and your own bank is likely to have done the same. You can learn about everything from how to download the app to how to make payments and plenty more.

And if, like Ailsa, you’re nervous of making a costly mistake, you’ll be comforted to know that digital banking systems usually require you to confirm you’re happy with a transaction, such as transferring money to pay a bill, before the transaction is made. This gives you a second chance to check that you’ve entered the correct figures and account details.

What if you’re just not confident with technology? 

Doing anything new is daunting but really, getting a handle on banking tech is no harder than applying for a mortgage, programming an old-fashioned VCR or working out how to put a cloth nappy on a wriggly baby – just a few of the complex things you’ve probably mastered over the years.

That’s why you can be confident of getting the hang of digital banking, especially if you have an adult child or grandchild who’s willing to help you get started, like Jemma did for Ailsa.

But if you’re still wary of digital banking, why not hear it straight from the source? Or if you’re a confident tech user but have a friend or family member who isn’t, encourage them to listen in when Starts at 60’s founder Rebecca Wilson asks ANZ’s Digital Customer Experience lead Ben Anderson and ANZ Global Chief Information Security Officer Lynwen Connick the hard questions in a free livestream on September 4.

They’ll talk about the nitty gritty of digital banking, including how to maximise the benefits of digital banking, how your money is kept safe and why it’s really much easier than you think to bank using an app or online banking instead of visiting a branch – all in easy-to-understand, non-techy terms.

You can find out more here.


Disclaimer: This article is by Starts at 60 and proudly sponsored by ANZ. Except where expressly stated, all views and opinions expressed in this article belong to Starts at 60 and are not the views or opinions of ANZ.

Sign up for Starts at 60’s next masterclass with ANZ!

Banking on the internet or through a mobile app – is it safe? Is your information secure? What happens if you make a mistake? Ailsa Wight had all these questions before getting started with the ANZ App – Starts at 60 CEO Rebecca Wilson will be asking all this and more in a free live event with ANZ’s Digital Customer Experience lead Ben Anderson and ANZ Global Chief Information Security Officer Lynwen Connick Join us on 4th September 2020 at 1pm AEST!

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