Payments Council identifies vulnerable groups for payments services

Studying vulnerable groups

A study by the Payments Council of consumers aged over 80 and people with cognitive, sensory and physical disabilities has revealed a series of barriers they face in accessing and using payment systems (view press release). According to the study, some over 80s and people with disabilities were able to overcome barriers by capitalising on technological developments such as internet banking and smartphones, and through family support. Those living alone, the poor and digitally excluded faced limited access to goods and services as a result of payment barriers.

The Payments Council explored ways to make payments services better for vulnerable groups and ways to prevent coping strategies such as sharing cards, PINS or passwords. Key areas identified by the report include physical barriers to the use of ATMs and bank branches; the visual presentation and lack of standardisation at ATMs; the challenges caused by dexterity, memory or visual impairment when using payment terminals, internet shopping or banking and the limited options for delegation of payments to others, while maintaining privacy.

“Promoting inclusion in our payment systems is a critical part of what the Payments Council does,” said Stephen Locke, the Independent Director of the Payments Council, who chaired the Advisory Group. “This research paints a vivid picture of the range of challenges that are faced by older and disabled people and will play a crucial role in ensuring their needs are placed front and centre of plans to improve our payment systems. Our focus is on how barriers can be removed and where different choices could help people overcome the obstacles they are experiencing.”

Results of the study will be incorporated into the policy analysis carried out by the council to identify new solutions as part of the National Payments Plan (NPP).

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