How can payments be made easier for everyone?
Published 26 October 2012 by Helen Gradwell
Making payments can be difficult for people with limited mobility - like older or disabled people. There are ways around this, however.
The Payments Council has found that some people - like the elderly and the disabled - have trouble accessing and using payment systems (such as internet shopping, payment terminals and banking). The most common barriers are impaired vision, memory or dexterity.
There are a number of ways that people tackle these barriers. Some find technological developments like internet and mobile banking helpful. Others rely on family members to help them day-to-day - but this is not without its risks - as it requires sharing PINs, cards, passwords and other personal information.
Not everyone can find ways around these barriers, however. People who live alone and those who can't - or won't - use technology have limited access when it comes to payments.
So how can payment services be improved for vulnerable groups? According to the Payments Council, key areas that need to be addressed include:
- Challenges when using payment terminals, banking or internet shopping caused by impaired memory, vision or dexterity.
- Physical barriers to accessing bank branches and ATMs (e.g. lack of suitable transport, or disability).
- The fact that it's difficult to delegate payments to trusted family members whilst maintaining a level of privacy and security.
- The lack of standardised ATMs - as older people may not understand how different machines work.
The Payments Council are looking to improve access for vulnerable people - including developing new methods for delegating payments.
An expert from thinkmoney said: "It's clear that a lot could be done to help older and less physically-able people make payments and manage their money. Hopefully this report will help to find more ways of helping people in that situation.
"If your problem mainly lies with planning your finances, there are already services that can help. The thinkmoney Current Account, for example, comes with a personalised budgeting service which automatically sets money aside for bills and other important payments, through the use of a dedicated team of Money Managers.
"Not only that, but the account comes with an Online Account Management service, as well as SMS and telephone account services - so you can access your account information whenever you need to, whether you're out and about or in the comfort of your own home."
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