Disabled and older consumers face banking barriersCash machines and bank branches cause problems

27 October 2012

New research carried out for the Payments Council has highlighted the challenge that payment systems present to older consumers and disabled people.

The study identified a number of barriers to accessing cash for those with physical, sensory or cognitive impairments. These barriers include the physical inaccessibility of cash machines and bank branches, lack of standardisation between cash machines and complicated data entry processes and verification hurdles.

As a way of overcoming these problems, many people are turning to family members for help, while others are resorting to stockpiling cash in order to avoid having to make regular visits to banks or cash machines.

Reliance on family for banking help

Some over 80s and people with disabilities are able to overcome such obstacles by taking advantage of technological developments such as online banking and smartphones.

However, the study found that the most common coping strategy was to share Pins and passwords with family members or to entrust them with cards. But options are much more limited for those without trusted family members nearby, meaning they are sometimes facing a choice between doing without cash or essentials, or sharing personal financial details with people they might not want to have access to this kind of information, such as neighbours or carers.

Higher risk of fraud

By adopting these coping strategies, account holders’ privacy is compromised and individuals are exposed to the risk of card fraud. The report recognised the need for a safer means of delegating payments to others which maintains privacy and ensures that access is limited and flexible.

  • Have you ever fallen victim to card fraud? How did your bank respond? Share your experiences on Which? Conversation.

Stephen Locke, independent director of the Payments Council, said: ‘This research paints a vivid picture of the range of challenges that are faced by older and disabled people and will play a crucial role in ensuring their needs are placed front and centre of plans to improve our payment systems.’

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