If there is a silver lining to this pandemic, one might be that it has spurred older adults to adopt and use technology in greater numbers, helping them participate more fully than ever in the digital world.
For instance, in 2019, about half of older adults had never used video chat, but by 2020, 70 percent had done so, with 1 in 3 video-chatting weekly. More than a third of older adults are also texting, and more than a quarter are emailing and using the phone more than they did pre-pandemic, according to AARP’s 2020 Tech Survey.
Whether working from home, staying in touch with loved ones, ordering groceries, or conducting telemedicine visits, many older adults mastered new skills to avoid being left behind during the pandemic.
While many older adults have become comfortable online, some still need a bit more help to feel confident in the virtual world. That’s why AARP Foundation collaborated with Chase to develop a suite of easy-to-navigate resources in Spanish and English. These tools can help older adults stay connected and safe online while accessing all the digital world has to offer.
1. Connecting with others online
Connecting online might just be the next best thing to being there – during a pandemic, or even in non pandemic times when weather, distance, mobility issues, or transportation can make it difficult for older adults to meet in person.
AARP Foundation and Chase have a virtual workshop and a video that instruct older adults on how to use video chat technology and social media safely to stay connected to others. Our workshop also teaches older adults how to safely enjoy hobbies virtually and search for and find local and virtual events online.
2. Boosting financial health through online banking
During the pandemic, it was more difficult for older adults to manage their finances if they could not go to the bank in person.
To help older adults feel more comfortable with online banking, AARP Foundation and Chase developed free online resources in Spanish and English to demonstrate how to deposit checks virtually, use banking apps, and monitor their finances from home. Our tools include a fun and interactive mobile banking workshop and a 2-minute AARP Foundation video that include lessons on understanding financial apps, depositing checks remotely, and transferring funds and sending money virtually.
In our mobile banking workshop, older adults can learn about financial apps that make it easier to save money, create a budget, reduce debt, and invest. These skills can assist older adults in gaining control of their finances and provide tools to build their financial health.
Our lesson on depositing checks remotely by snapping a digital picture of the check from home or other locations helps older adults access their funds quickly and conveniently without going to the bank.
Older adults also gain significant control over bill-paying by mastering the peer-to-peer payment services that allow a person to send and receive money from others using only their mobile number or email. Using this service is as easy as downloading the right app, linking a bank account to the app, choosing the recipient’s account and entering their information.
Mobile banking is particularly important for lower-income older adults. Of the 56 million low- to moderate-income adults 50 and older in the U.S., only 17% are financially healthy. Financial technology can help this vulnerable population manage their finances, track their income and expenditures, and make a budget from home, helping build their financial health. Mastering financial technology is especially useful for low-to-moderate income adults who want to track their income and expenses closely to keep from exceeding tight budgets.
3. Protecting yourself from financial scams
Online banking tools can also increase financial safety. For older adults, who are frequently targeted by scammers, electronic banking alerts like text messages, in-app notifications, and emails are a convenient early warning system, allowing them to notify the bank quickly when they discover suspicious charges.
AARP Foundation and Chase have created a virtual workshop outlining some of the most common scams on the internet and how to protect against them. These include safeguarding personal information, paying close attention to the language used by the scammer (which will often contain grammatical mistakes), and setting up banking alerts to detect potential fraud.
In this 1-minute video, we developed a list of red flags and questions to ask yourself if you feel that an online connection might be a scam.
While the pandemic elevated our reliance on technology, the increasing digitization of our world is here to stay. With the right information, older adults can take advantage of technology to benefit many aspects of their lives, from staying in touch with friends and family to carrying out daily responsibilities. AARP Foundation and Chase are committed to providing the tools and know-how to assist older adults in using digital tools that help improve their quality of life.
To learn more about the free resources, research and workshops available to older adults and your loved ones, please visit fintech.aarpfoundation.org.
By Lisa Marsh Ryerson, President of AARP Foundation
About Chase: Chase is the U.S. consumer and commercial banking business of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), a leading global financial services firm with assets of $3.4 trillion and operations worldwide. Chase serves more than 60 million American households with a broad range of financial services, including personal banking, credit cards, mortgages, auto financing, investment advice, small business loans and payment processing. Customers can choose how and where they want to bank: More than 4,700 branches in 38 states and the District of Columbia, 16,000 ATMs, mobile, online and by phone. For more information, go to chase.com.
About AARP Foundation: AARP Foundation works to end senior poverty by helping vulnerable people over 50 build economic opportunity. Our approach emphasizes equitable outcomes for populations that have faced systemic discrimination. As AARP’s charitable affiliate, we serve AARP members and nonmembers alike. Through vigorous legal advocacy and evidence-based solutions, and by building supportive community connections, we foster resilience, advance equity and restore hope. To learn more, visit aarpfoundation.org or follow @AARPFoundation on social media.