Concerns about fraud keeping elderly away from digital payments: study

Singapore

BY 2030, one in five residents in Singapore will be aged 65 and above. Against such statistics, there are questions to be asked about how far digital inclusion extends to individuals in their later years.

Data from a new study by Visa Singapore of 200 consumers here aged between 50 and 80 years old showed that while many are active users of smartphone communication apps, the usage of digital payments on their phones is low.

The reasons came down to a lack of comfort around new payment technologies, and fears about fraud.

Notably, it showed that while nearly 80 per cent of them were high users of messaging apps, just about 30 per cent of them used mobile banking apps.

Speaking to The Business Times ahead of the study - due to be officially launched this week - Kunal Chatterjee, Visa country manager for Singapore and Brunei, noted that the motivation behind the study was to understand the behaviour patterns of these individuals. "We're conscious that no one should get left behind," he said.

The data showed that nearly all seniors polled owned a payment card, but preferred using cash for spending. The exceptions would be making bill payments, as well as paying for insurance and electronics.

Mr Chatterjee pointed to the negative comments from those polled, as they said that they found it "too scary to use cards or e-wallets".

They also felt they were "too old" to adopt new technology, pointing out that they might key in the wrong amount or the wrong password because of their poor eyesight. In some cases, they said their lack of education could make it difficult for them to pick up digital payments.

There were also clear concerns around fraud, and on a related point, the lack of communication behind digital payments. The senior citizens polled said they wanted to know that the payments had been received by the recipients, and feared hidden charges behind card usage.

Visa Singapore will work with the People's Association to run sessions on digital payments at community centres islandwide, with the aim of addressing some of these fears.

Mr Chatterjee's view is that once the benefits of cashless payments are made known to these consumers, payment providers can chip away at the age-old habit of using cash.

There is also room to explore using sensory cues to ensure more ease of mind when using digital payments.

Data from a separate Visa Singapore survey showed that 76 per cent of Singaporeans feel confident about shopping and paying online if there are visual cues to indicate that their online purchase is successful.

These include animation or vibration cues to confirm that payments have gone through.

Visa will work with Carousell to incorporate its sensory branding technology, such that sellers and buyers will get alerts when payments are made using Visa cards.