New approaches to banking for the older old

  • Olivier, Patrick (Primary Chief Investigator (PCI))
  • Li, Feng (Chief Investigator (CI))

Project: Research

Project Description

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council - Award value: £7,946 (UK pounds)
At the time of the 2001 census there were 2.4m people aged 80 or more in the UK. Life expectancy at age 80 is now 9 years for men and 11 for women. They have experiences very different from the age cohorts that follow them and many do not use the banking facilities that their children take for granted. Many depend very much more on cash transactions than younger cohorts.There are several potential reasons for the large number of the older old who do not have access to conventional bank accounts. Some of these reasons would seem to be conceptual, such as the fear of losing control of a limited budget represented purely as abstract numbers that are only accessible electronically. Our solutions, inspired by detailed study of this extraordinary user cohort, will consider how one might reconnect the digital and physical worlds in ways that solve these conceptual problems. 
As just one example, imagine a wallet shaped foldable display. One half would display recent transactions with dates and amounts, the other half your current balance, as a figure and an analogue quantity. To keep the interface simple this device would only be used to see your account. The transactions themselves would be carried out at an ATM, via the telephone or whatever and would have immediate effects on the displays. Other reasons for financial exclusion are more practical than conceptual, e.g., inability to get to a branch or to satisfy the regulations for opening new accounts. Home banking could solve some of these problems but here there are additional difficulties due to the way the technology works. The older old were never required to use computers at work and so have little familiarity with techniques for interacting with digital technology. The notion of a password or selecting from auditory or visually presented menus is foreign to many of them. 
The project will seek to understand these problems from the user's point of view and hence provide user-centred solutions to these more practical problems.The project will involve working with the older old and their representatives, also the providers of financial services. It will consider wider societal concerns such as financial abuse. The methods used will include conventional field study techniques such as interviews, focus groups and role play, also new participatory design techniques based around low cost but high fidelity concept designs. For example, our participants might be invited to use realistic simulations of financial services based around a device of the kind described above. They then take part in a design workshop the output of which will be used to formulate more complete and practical solutions. These solutions will take the form of new financial products and technology to support them.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date1/05/1031/10/11