An investigation into the suitability of electronic banking technologies for the elderly
It is no secret that banks are increasingly using electronic channels to render services. Among these services are ATMs, internet banking with personal computers and mobile devices, to name a few. This is a bonus for many South Africans who are proficient in using this technology. However, the elderly are often inept at using this technology; moreover, they tend to resist new technology. As technology on other fronts, such as medical science, progresses rapidly, there is a global trend for populations to age. This refers to the fact that the proportion of elderly people in populations is increasing. South Africa also follows the trend. Accordingly, it is important to address the problem of resistance to technology in order to keep the elderly socially integrated and enabled and to help ensure that their dignity remains intact. Virtually no research has been done in the South African context on electronic banking and its use among the elderly. This study is a bid to learn more about the elderly and their use of electronic banking technology. The research was done in two phases. The first phase was a pilot project that had two goals. The first was to gain insight into the use of the technology and the second was to determine some factors that had an influence on the acceptance or rejection of the technology. To this end, focus group discussions that were recorded and later transcribed were used, to which text analysis techniques were then applied. The results of the first phase yielded 11 families or factors. The second phase involved a questionnaire that was developed using the results from the first phase. An adapted model (based on the social cognitive theory) showing how several factors influence the use or non-use of the technology was developed. The use of ATMs and the use of personal computers to do internet banking, as well as possible reasons for using/not using the technology were investigated. Data were also collected regarding suggested changes to existing technology to make it better suited to the elderly. The data recorded using the questionnaires were quantitatively processed. This involved descriptive statistics such as frequencies, calculation of the median and others. Factor analysis was also performed to determine possible interrelatedness between variables, which may predict other variables with a certain degree of certainty. Pearson’s coefficient was calculated to see if there were any correlations between variables. The results show that few elderly South African citizens have adopted the use of ATMs, while even fewer do internet banking with a personal computer. Some factors that influence use or acceptance, such as age and age-related decline, are in some instances the same as elsewhere in the world. Some of the issues that surfaced, however, were not seen in other studies, such as the standardisation of cards and technology that is aware of the limitations of individuals. In some instances, the problems of non-users are not insurmountable. With specific reference to ATMs, many problems may be resolved through training. Nearly 50% of the participants expressed preparedness to be trained. The principal issues for the elderly were the security aspects of the technology. A small proportion of the elderly own personal computers, but the technology is underutilised so that an even smaller portion of those who do own a personal computer uses it for banking. The results show that even though acceptance of internet banking with a personal computer is low, most were still of the opinion that it was safe to use. The majority of participants also felt that older methods should be superseded by newer methods. In this instance too, around 43% percent of participants indicated preparedness to be trained.