Internet and Older People


Over-65s in the UK have spent a huge £2.5 billion on computer equipment[1], yet over two thirds (68 per cent) admit they aren’t taking advantage of its potential, according to research by, the Payments Council’s education campaign.

Nearly half of over-65s (44 per cent) now have access to a computing device, with this age group having spent an average of £622 each on Smartphone’s, laptops, desktop computers and tablets. The majority of this online older generation are comfortable using their gadgets to surf the internet (70 per cent) or send and receive emails (67 per cent), yet many are failing to take full advantage of their investment in technology.

Only 32 per cent of over-65s with computer access use internet banking and only 38 per cent shop online. And there is a big generation gap when it comes to making the most of technology - twice as many 25 to 34-year-olds (64 per cent) use internet banking, or shop online (68 per cent).

Comedian and historian, Tony Robinson, who is supporting the Pay Your Way campaign to raise awareness of the advantages of the internet, said:

The internet is a wonderful tool and it can be a real asset to older people who might benefit from being able to do things from the comfort of their own home. Internet banking allows you to keep on top of your money matters, and while I know that older people often feel a bit daunted about using it, if a butter-fingered nincompoop like me can find my way around the internet, anybody can!"

There are some encouraging signs that older people are starting to take advantage of the convenience offered by internet banking in greater numbers. Over one in five (22 per cent) over-65s who bank online only started using it in the last two years. As part of Silver Surfers’ Day, which helped older generations to get online, the Payments Council is encouraging older adults to make the most of the untapped technology, including considering the benefits of internet banking.

Worries about security are a key factor behind the reluctance to manage finances online, with 39 per cent of over-65s citing this as their reason for not using internet banking. But these fears don’t match the reality – the latest fraud figures[2] show that losses from internet banking fell by 24 per cent from 2010 to 2011, while innocent victims of fraud are protected by law from any financial loss. 

Commenting for Pay Your Way, Adrian Kamellard, Chief Executive of the Payments Council said:

“People from every generation are now familiar with the benefits of surfing the web and sending emails, yet many of us aren’t using the computers we own to their full potential. Banking online is a safe, straightforward way to free up your time to do the more enjoyable things in life – whether that means going on Facebook or meeting friends in the real world!” 

A beginner’s guide to internet banking is available from the Pay Your Way website where you can also find out more about the range of payment methods available.


  [1] Exact figure is £2,566,581,300 based on the fact that there are an estimated 4,127,000 people in the UK aged 65 or over who own computer equipment and that the average spend on this equipment by over 65s is £621.90. Computer equipment includes computers, laptops, smartphones, and smart TVs.

The survey was conducted via OMNIBUS, the TNS random location face-to-face consumer omnibus survey. 4,000 adults were interviewed. Fieldwork took place between 28th March – 3rd April 2012 (QS8328 Week 13).

 [2] Online banking fraud losses fell 24 per cent from £46.6m in 2010, to £35.4m in 2011 according to figures from Financial Fraud Action UK. Factors contributing to this fall include: customers better protecting their own computers with up-to-date anti-virus software; banks’ use of sophisticated fraud detection systems; and banks providing customers with additional software and hand-held devices to log on to internet banking. Click here to see the 2011 Annual Fraud Figures in full.

Anyone who is concerned about their online safety should follow these golden rules, from

  • Keep your PC protected by using the latest browser and operating system, and making sure your anti-virus software is up to date.
  • Look for the padlock when buying things online. The padlock icon shown at the top of the screen shows you are using a secure payment page.
  • Register your cards with the security schemes offered.  Verified by Visa,
    MasterCard SecureCode and American Express SafeKey offer an additional layer of protection.
  • Always log out from a webpage after shopping, and make sure you print or save a copy of the order in case you have any problems with it.

The Payments Council’s internet banking security advice website,, was relaunched on 25 April 2012. Visit the site for information and advice on how to stay safe when banking online.

Content credited to:  Payments Council  April 2012

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