Elderly face difficulties in accessing cash

| October 26, 2012
Elderly face difficulties in accessing cash

Elderly and disabled people are at risk of fraud because of the difficulties they face in accessing their cash.

Research commissioned by The Payments Council found that many have to give financial information such as card details, Pin numbers and passwords to friends and family as they find technology too difficult to use.

The decreasing number of bank branches may also make going in person to a bank difficult, and many branches have inadequate disabled parking provision.

Cash machine screens may be difficult to read and the buttons are fiddly to operate for people with physical disabilities.

Elderly people with memory problems are at a disadvantage as they may be unable to remember PIN numbers, researchers found.

The study, which was carried out by consultants Policis and charity Toynbee Hall, surveyed people over the age of 80 with cognitive, physical or sensory impairments.

“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,” said Stephen Locke, a director of the Payments Council.

“Our focus is on how barriers can be removed and where different choices could help people overcome the obstacles they are experiencing.”

Separate research by the Campaign for Community Banking Services discovered that 140 branches have already been closed or are planned to close in 2012.

Over the past decade 2,000 branches have closed down, leaving many communities without a local branch.

HSBC has closed 68 branches this year, while NatWest/RBS and Barclays have closed 42 and 30 respectively.

Derek French of the campaign said: “Consumers need access to branches because online and telephone banking simply isn’t suitable for many people.

“Banks should halt these branch closures now for the good of their customers and the community.”

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