Over 55s Flock Online during Coronavirus Pandemic but Miss Out on Digital Banking Opportunity

• Over half (54%) of over 55s are using more online services since the start of the pandemic(1)
• However, the number of over 55s who continue to shy away from using digital banking has remained the same, with 64% of those who have never banked digitally admitting to being concerned about security
• Santander’s own data reveals the number of over 55s who have taken advantage of digital banking still lags behind other age groups, instead there has been a clear trend among the age group to use the bank’s industry-first online chat service

Coronavirus has supercharged the speed of digital adoption, with three in five (59%) Brits using more digital services than they did before the pandemic. The shift in habits has been exemplified by the older generation, with one in five (17%) over 55s signing up to at least three new online entertainment, socialising or shopping services since the pandemic began. 

While some Brits’ downtime has taken a nose dive, the over 55s’ approach to entertainment and speaking with friends and family has been transformed since the pandemic began, with at least daily use of online TV streaming platforms, like Netflix, up 39% since the outbreak and a 81% increase in at least weekly use of video conferencing facilities, such as Whatsapp Video.  

It’s not just entertainment, over 55s have been sussing out a whole range of new online services, with a 67% increase in numbers using online to do their weekly groceries shopping.

Over 55s put their increased online usage down to avoiding having to venture out (44%), their own personal safety (13%) and saving time (12%). One in five are following the lead of their friends and family.
But despite the benefits of doing things online, there is an anomaly. The numbers of over 55s who continue to avoid using digital banking has remained the same since the pandemic, with almost one in five (16%) choosing not to use their bank’s digital services to manage their money. 

This trend is reinforced by Santander’s own data(2).  While the bank has seen over 250 million logins on online and mobile banking since the pandemic began, over 55s have initially been slower than other age groups in trying digital banking in the same period, with a 40% difference in the uptake of digital services between 35-54-year olds and the over 55s in the first two weeks after the pandemic was declared.  What’s more, although almost a third (30%) of customers over the age of 55 use online banking or the mobile app, only 0.5% have taken up banking digitally since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Instead, the bank’s online chat service, which allows customers to carry out a range of account specific transactions, such as balance enquiries and requesting a replacement card, has seen a significant increase in usage since the pandemic began, with over 55s accounting for one in four (27%) of all users in March alone.. The chat service is the first in the banking industry to introduce a level of authentication that enables customers to carry out complex transactions from the public website.

Chris Ainsley, Head of Fraud Strategy, Santander UK said: “It’s great to see that over 55s are trying out new digital services to help them overcome some of the challenges created by coronavirus and their use of our online chat service is really welcome. For those who feel confident and comfortable after experimenting with other online services, then now is a perfect time to put digital banking to the test.  

“It’s secure, saves time and is a convenient way to manage your day-to-day finances, particularly during the pandemic. For those who don’t have access to the internet or who simply aren’t comfortable managing their money online, then we’re always happy to help over our phone lines or once it’s safe to do so again, in person in branch.”

Among over 55s who don’t bank online:
- One in two (52%) already know they have the right credentials in place to register for digital banking, compared to only 15% of under 35s;
- 64% blame concerns over security, compared to just 42% of under 35s, for not using online or mobile banking; and
- 64% admit to simply never having got around to using the service.

Yet interestingly, whereas 35-54-year olds are worried about not using digital banking correctly (50%), fewer over 55s share these concerns (44%).

Santander is helping customers get online with a set of simple step-by-step videos for online banking and an online demo and guides for mobile banking.  It has also launched a marketing campaign with advice around managing your money using digital banking, and has contacted customers over SMS, and encouraged people via its contact centres and website to use its online chat or digital banking services where possible.

Chris’ Top Tips for Securely Managing your Money using Digital Banking

Sharing isn’t always caring
Keep your login details safe at all times. Avoid writing them down and don’t share them with anyone.

Keep it a secret
Never share your One Time Passcode (OTP) with anyone, not even Santander staff.

Leave them out in the cold
Received a call you weren’t expecting? Never let a cold caller talk you into giving them access to your device or downloading software.

No shortcuts
Don’t be lulled into entering your online banking details after clicking a link in an email or text message. If you’re logging in to online banking, type the full address into your web browser.

Stay on top of it all
Install the latest security updates to your system software as they become available. You can also download Trusteer Rapport, which is free and helps keep your details safe and secure.

Over and out
Using public WiFi? Make sure you fully log out of online and sign out of the mobile app once you’re done.

- Ends -

The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.

Notes to Editors
1 - Research undertaken with Opinium between 14 - 16 April 2020, among 2,000 UK adults. Weighted to be nationally representative.
2 – Santander figures based on data from 11 March – 21 April 2020.

The 11 March 2020 is used as the date of the start of the pandemic.

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. At 30 December 2019, the bank had around 23,500 employees and serves around 14 million active customers, via a nationwide branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers’ eligible deposits are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful presence in 10 core markets in Europe and the Americas, and is one of the largest banks in the world by market capitalization. Its purpose is to help people and businesses prosper in a simple, personal and fair way. Santander is building a more responsible bank and has made a number of commitments to support this objective, including raising over €120 billion in green financing between 2019 and 2025, as well as financially empowering more than 10 million people over the same period. At the end of the first quarter of 2020, Banco Santander had a trillion euros in total funds, 146 million customers, of which 21.3 million are loyal and 38.3 million are digital, 11,900 branches and 195,000 employees. Banco Santander made underlying profit of €1,977 million in the first quarter of 2020, an increase of 1% compared to the same period of last year.

Media Enquiries
Deborah Lewis  M: +44 (0)7845 051939  E: Deborah.Lewis@santander.co.uk
Leanne Bell  M: +44 (0)7711 774 389 E: Leanne.Bell@santander.co.uk

Follow @santanderuknews on Twitter

The Santander press office operates from 8.00am to 6.00pm. Outside of these hours please call 0800 5877708.