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27 October 2015


Deborah Souter,
Head of Content,
  • One in five silver surfers rely on their kids for “hand me up” knowledge in adopting new technology such as mobile banking and payments

  • Smartphone revolution has been and gone, but many older consumers remain shut out of the new mobile world order

LONDON, 21 October 2015: The growth of smartphone technology has transformed the way Brits send and receive information, yet when a shiny new app or handset emerges, it seems that the older generation are often left out of the loop.  Mobile banking and payment technology face the same barriers, according to new research from VocaLink, the UK payment infrastructure provider.

The Next Generation of Payments Report, an independent study commissioned by VocaLink into the mobile banking and payment habits of more than 5,000 UK consumers, has uncovered a trend of reverse education when it comes to mobile payment technology, with knowledge being ‘handed up’ from younger generations to older counterparts.

Older demographics still finding technology inaccessible

When quizzed on their perceptions of technology, the 45-75 age group were less likely to understand new innovations than younger respondents. Over half (62%) felt their friends knew more than they did about the newest gadgets, whilst a similar proportion (66%) acknowledged they couldn’t easily ‘figure out’ new tech, admitting that they needed someone else to show them what to do.

General awareness of mobile banking and payment technology is low.

This undercurrent of exclusion can put older generations at a serious disadvantage in adopting genuinely useful technologies that help with financial management. Many mobile payment services have launched in recent years, making it safe and convenient to pay quickly using a smartphone, yet respondents aged 45-75 were less likely to have heard of apps such as PayPal Mobile, Paym or Zapp, compared to 16–44 year olds. 

“When kids start using it, then Mums & Dads start using it…”

The success of new payment methods such as contactless, has been boosted by recommendations from early adopting friends and family members. VocaLink’s research found a similar trend for mobile payments, with younger customers using the technology first, then ‘handing up’ their knowledge to older friends, relatives and colleagues. Amongst the 45-75 age group, 1 in 5 respondents said that a recommendation from family or friends would provide the spur they needed to start using mobile payments – second only to a recommendation from their bank (31%).

Hilary Klipp, 65, a retiree from Chigwell in Essex, uses a Samsung Galaxy S5 which was ‘handed up’ from her daughter, whom she largely credits with helping Hilary learn to use mobile technology with confidence. An EE customer, Hilary uses her mobile phone for calling, emailing, texting, browsing the internet and Facebook – and even makes use of  mobile banking on a regular basis. 

“My daughter helped me set up my service with EE, get the handset ready to use and also helped me to transfer all my numbers. I definitely needed help in the beginning but the more I use it the more confident I get. It’s so useful for everyday life. I can keep in touch with friends and family very easily and download any apps I need.!” 

Hilary is currently learning how to use a GPS app so she can find her way around independently. She trusts the security of her mobile phone and isn’t nervous about things going wrong: “My daughter showed me how to use the Natwest mobile banking app and once I was comfortable with that I also downloaded the Barclays one. I use them to check my bank balance and transfer money between accounts. I haven’t used these apps to pay anyone yet, but I would be interested in learning how to do that in the future.”

Cara O’Nions, Marketing and Customer Insight Director, at VocaLink commented: “The mobile payments space is a hugely exciting area, with great new features launching all the time. Exclusive discounts, on-the-spot offers when you walk past a particular shop, or even a real time snapshot of your account balance are useful and liberating features that have proved popular with consumers.

Younger generations play a massive role in helping older generations learn to use mobile payment services. Mobile payments will be everywhere in just a few years, so it is crucial that everyone is empowered to enjoy the benefits this new technology offers.”

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