SINGAPORE - While they may own smartphones and use communication applications actively, seniors are not tapping the different digital payment options, a new study by Visa Singapore showed.
To help them get familiar with such apps, the firm will partner with the People's Association (PA) to run educational sessions on digital payments.
The Visa Digital Inclusion Study, which surveyed 200 consumers here aged between 50 and 80, found that while 84 per cent of seniors own a smartphone, and almost 90 per cent of them were familiar with messaging apps, only about 30 per cent have used mobile banking apps.
It also found that only a fifth of them have used apps for online shopping.
As part of the PA's Seniors for Smart Nation programme, Visa and PA will teach seniors about digital payments at its learning space - Visa University, in Robinson Road.
Over the last year, public and private organisations have introduced a slew of programmes to help seniors be Smart Nation-ready.
Last November, for instance, PA held courses where seniors were taught how to use common apps and social media, as well as how to keep their devices safe.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority also conducted clinics for seniors to learn, among other things, about electronic transactions.
OCBC Bank has also held workshops to teach seniors about mobile banking, online security and cashless payments.
Visa did not provide specific details of its upcoming sessions, but said they will consist of "hands-on training" as part of the curriculum.
Visa's country manager for Singapore and Brunei, Mr Kunal Chatterjee, said: "Visa is supportive of the Government's mission to provide digital inclusion for every citizen. By bringing more people into the digital financial system, we improve lives, build confidence and strengthen economies.
"We believe it's important to partner with People's Association to provide relevant education to senior citizens, and we intend to work closely with financial institutions to ensure more senior citizens are equipped with access to digital pay."
Madam Bona Salim, 66, is a retiree who regularly shops online and uses e-payment options when she makes flight and hotel bookings.
She told The Straits Times that when she first learnt how to make online transactions about three years ago, she had no one to guide her.
She "took it slow" as she was afraid of fraud.
"Many people in my age group are scared that people will cheat them. So they will ask their children to help them buy things online, because they do not know how to do so themselves," said Madam Bona.
The study showed when it came to shopping online, only a quarter of seniors indicated they had done so in the past year, with the majority saying they just did not know how to do it.
Ownership levels of credit cards and debit cards were relatively low at 46 per cent and 36 per cent respectively, and about half of those polled said they preferred to use cash.
This, Visa said, reduces the ability of seniors to benefit from digital payment solutions.
But those who would rather use cash said they would be encouraged to switch to payment cards if they were reassured that transactions would be safe and quick.
Of the seniors who have mobile banking apps, all of them knew how to check their balances, and 78 per cent used such apps to transfer money between accounts.
Director-designate of the life skills and lifestyle division in PA, Mr Kia Siang Wei, said that PA and Visa will teach seniors how to use technology to enhance their quality of life.
"The partnership will help to address the concerns seniors may have about digital payments and e-commerce," he said.
Madam Bona said seniors are just afraid of things they are unfamiliar with.
"If there are people who can give some guidance, I am sure many other seniors would also want to perform online transactions because it really is easier," she added.