26th January 2015

Millions of “Silver Surfers” harness mobile and internet banking

Nearly 2.3 million people aged between 70 and over 100 years old are now using internet banking, new industry figures compiled by the BBA show today.

The study also shows that more than 450,000 customers over 60 are harnessing banking apps on smart phones, iPads and other tablets.

The figures are the latest part the BBA’s Way We Bank Now work, which has charted the rapid rise of a range of new consumer-friendly banking technologies, including contactless cards and text alerts.

The new findings show:

  • 2,267,597 customers aged over 70 are now registered to use internet banking, more than 600,000 of these people are 80+.
  • There have been 457,031 downloads of banking apps by customers aged 60 or over. Nearly 20,000 of these customers are 80+.
  • More than 306,000 customers aged 60+ have signed up to receive text alerts from their bank, which can help customers avoid fees when breeching borrowing limits.

Banking apps – which allow users to safely pay bills, transfer money and read account statements – have been downloaded more than 12 million times in recent years by customers of UK banks.

The latest study also found that older customers who use mobile and internet banking typically use it as frequently or only slightly less often than younger generations.

It shows that some banks are currently experiencing faster growth rates for digital services by customers in their 70s and 80s than for younger generations.

BBA Chief Executive Anthony Browne said of the numbers:

“These figures shatter the myth that this technology is only for younger generations – millions of older people are avid users of banking websites and apps. Banking on the move is as much a reality for silver surfers as it is for students.

“Customers of all ages like the fact that they can now make payments, check balances and do other banking tasks from the comfort of their home without trudging into town. It’s precisely because these technologies are so popular with people of all ages that banks are investing so heavily in them.

“Not everyone will want to harness these new services, but it’s vital that no one feels excluded from this easy-to-use technology and that banks continue to give all the support they can to those who want to learn how to join what is fast becoming a banking revolution.”

The BBA’s figures have been compiled from a range of banks, including Bank of Scotland, Barclays, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Metro Bank, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander. All of the numbers of compiled by the BBA relate to October 2014 unless otherwise stated.

Internet banking:

  • Barclays internet banking customers aged over 80 on average log-in 0.46 times per week – that compares with 0.47 times per week for customers aged 35-49.
  • HSBC internet banking customers in their 70s log-in more frequently than any other age group.
  • RBS customers aged over 80 logged into their internet banking on nearly 400,000 occasions in October 2014. The oldest customer to log-in during this month was 100 years old.
  • Users of Lloyds Bank’s internet banking in their 60s and 70s typically log-in 2.1 times a week – compared with 2.7 times per week for those aged between 35 and 49.

Mobile Banking

  • The oldest HSBC customer to have downloaded its banking app is aged 108 years old.
  • The number of customers in their 70s who have downloaded the RBS app has grown by 93% in the past year – more than any other age group.
  • Between 2013 and 2014 there was a 41% increase in the customers aged over 80 who had downloaded Barclays’ app.
  • The number of HSBC account holders aged 70+ who had downloaded the banking app increased by almost 130% in just one year.

SMS alerts

  • 40% of RBS customers registering for SMS alerts over the past year are 50+.
  • More than 185,000 Barclays account holders aged over 60 have signed up for text alerts.

Table 1: Use of banking technology by customer age

Age App downloads Customers registered for internet banking Customers signing up for SMS alerts
80+ 18,788 603,039 13,686
70-79 78616 1,664,558 68,358
60-69 359,627 4,185,997 224,183
50-59 955,425 6,157,963 306,227
35-49 3,342,142 12,538,772 1,187,358
18-34 7,317,732 15,688,839 955,935


Table 2: Percentage of UK population using internet banking by age band

When compared with population estimates from the Office for National Statistics the statistics suggest that 20% of British residents over 80 and more than a third of those in their 70s are now using internet banking.

Age Customers registered for internet banking Total population* % Adoption rates
80+ 603,039 3,009,000 20
70-79 1,664,558 4,631,300 35.9
60-69 4,185,997 7,032,200 59.5
50-59 6,157,963 8,100,800 76

Source: ONS Population estimates 2013

The BBA’s other Way We Bank Now work can be read here. For further information, please contact the BBA Press Office on 020 7216 8989.


Notes to editors:-

1. Press contacts for members that have contributed to the Way We Bank Now report are as follows:

2. The ONS Population Estimates used to produce the percentage adoption rates in Table 2 can be accessed at: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/pop-estimate/population-estimates-for-uk–england-and-wales–scotland-and-northern-ireland/2013/rft—mid-2013-uk-population-estimates.zip

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