For many Canadians, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant learning how to do things online that they had never tried before. That includes managing their money.
And while many have shifted some aspects of their lives online with a certain level of ease and digital know-how, for others, including some seniors, the learning curve has been slightly steeper. In addition to restrictions on social gathering, pre-existing gaps in digital literacy among older generations has added an extra level of isolation and stress for many senior Canadians.
A survey conducted in 2019 by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) found that seniors aged 75 and older were less likely to use online banking than those in any other age group, with the top barriers to online banking being safety or security concerns (32%), a preference for in-person or telebanking (20%), and not using the internet (20%).
Whether it's a fear of fraud or online security worries, or simply lacking the hardware or technological skills to bank online, many seniors may face challenges when starting to bank online and need the resources, knowledge, tools and support to confidently manage their money online during the pandemic.
We sat down with Kevin Moffatt, Vice President of Canadian Personal Banking Business Management & Governance and TD's 'Seniors' Champion', to learn more about what may be concerning some seniors when it comes to adopting online banking, what TD is doing to help, and how those seniors who are ready to take the leap to online banking can do so with confidence.
Start with simple online tasks
"Seniors are an interesting group to look at because there is a broad spectrum of experience and knowledge as we get older," Moffatt said. "While digital adoption for some in the seniors group has been fantastic, some people are still finding their footing, and as we know, banking online is a process that comes with learning curves, just like anything else."
One of the first steps is often simply registering for online banking. For customers who aren't sure how to register, they can visit TD.com and under the EasyWeb Online Banking section on the right of the screen, click the ‘Register’ link. From there, they can set up a new Easy Web login and get started.
Once they're set up for online banking, Moffatt recommends easing into tasks like checking their balances online, which is something they can do instead of waiting for their statement at their branch.
"Seniors who might be feeling overwhelmed should also remind themselves they don’t have to jump into the deep end right away, doing things like investing online," he said.
"Once you get familiar with viewing and tracking your money online, you can then try more involved tasks like paying a bill. The key is to get online and then build your comfort, one step at a time."
Invest time in self-education
Still, even that first step of getting set up for online banking may cause feelings of anxiety for some seniors.
"One of the biggest barriers to getting some seniors to bank online is their concern for the safety of their money and their privacy," Moffatt said.
"We take safety and privacy very seriously. Seniors need to know that online banking is safe, but they do need to take caution and educate themselves so they can spot and prevent any possible risks."
To help address these kinds of concerns, TD recently launched the TD Seniors' Hub to help ensure that banking services and products are as accessible and effective for seniors as they are for everyone else.
The site features regularly updated information about how to perform basic banking operations online, information about taxes and rebates, as well as financial literacy tools to help senior customers protect themselves online, such as how to identify potential fraud or other online scams.
"Self-educating through the resources offered by your bank has the added benefit of enhancing your digital literacy, and that's true for any customer. The more you go online, the more familiar and comfortable you will become with using your bank's website and the internet in general," Moffatt said.
Don't be afraid to ask for help
"COVID-19 has created a heightened awareness of the need to educate and help protect customers, including many seniors, by getting them comfortable with online banking," said Moffatt.
"It's now an advantage in terms of health and safety."
For those seniors who are new to the digital banking world, adopting online banking is really just about learning a new skill.
"It's important to remember that everyone had to learn how to bank online at some point – so there's absolutely no shame in reaching out for help," Moffatt said.
Still, he understands that online banking might seem daunting for some seniors to undertake by themselves.
"My mother once asked me, 'but what if I make an error or have an issue and I don't have the support of the teller there to help me out?'" Moffatt said.
"Even without the face-to-face customer service connection you get in a branch, TD Contact Centre representatives, branch colleagues and financial advisors are available to help customers build confidence when banking online. You don't have to do it alone."