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Regardless of Age, People Still Value Bricks-and-Mortar Banks and Credit Unions

2023 AARP Age-Friendly Banking Survey

Most adults still value a physical bank or credit union. That’s what a recent AARP Research study on Age-Friendly Banking uncovered when it surveyed two groups of adults — ages 18–49 and 50-plus — to understand how well banks meet the unique needs of customers as they age.

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Of those surveyed, 85% of adults 50-plus are more likely than younger adults to bank in person to make deposits or withdrawals, cash checks, and check their balances. They’re also more likely to go into a bank or credit union to interact with a teller or banker they know (26%) or for social interaction (24%). Meanwhile, 75% of those 18–49 use a physical bank or credit union, but only 13% acknowledge using a specific teller or banker, and 7% bank in person for social engagement.

Loyalty is key

Most of those surveyed are loyal to their financial institutions and seldom switch. Only 40% of the 18–49 age group and 36% of the 50-plus group identified having changed financial institutions; this typically occurred following an issue involving fraud.

Fraud victimization

Two in five respondents reported losing money from a financial account due to fraud, theft, or scam. The amount of loss was typically $1,000 or less.

About three in four respondents indicated their bank was somewhat or very helpful in resolving their fraud issues. Still, consumers want their banks to provide more protections with automatic alerts, reimbursements, and temporary holds on questionable transactions.

P2P payment services

When asked whether person-to-person (P2P) payment services are more prone to fraud, responses were split. Those 18–49 are more likely than those 50-plus to use P2P services, such as PayPal, Cash App, Venmo, Zelle, Apple Pay, Google Pay or another service. Most use P2P services to send money to a relative or friend, give money as a gift, buy groceries, pay for dining, pay for clothing, and pay for living expenses.

Two-thirds of P2P users 18–49 who have experienced fraud say they lost money, compared to 45% of those 50-plus. While that amount is typically $1,000 or less, the older group is nearly 20% more likely to want P2P companies to take stronger action to protect against fraud; 62% of the younger group say they are satisfied with how the P2P service handled their issue.

One in four adults is a financial caregiver

The survey shows widespread interest in banking services that would help financial caregivers support their loved ones.

Financial caregiving is more common among adults 18–49 (32%) than those 50-plus (25%). Planning for future situations, meanwhile, does not appear to be a strength. Fewer than half of respondents say they have arrangements in place for help with their own finances in case they can no longer manage them: 43% of the 50-plus group vs. 23% of those 18–49.

Adults 50-plus are 20% more likely than those 18–49 to want financial institutions to provide better protection against fraud and scams, notify them of unusual account activity, and allow access to view a loved one’s account online.

Key takeaway

The two groups’ responses suggest banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions should further adopt age-friendly policies, including employing practices to inform and educate customers about financial exploitation, adequately train front-line employees to look for suspicious activity, and implement more robust, automated systems to alert customers of fraudulent activity.

Methodology

The AARP Research Age-Friendly Banking study was conducted by landline and cellphone among a sample of U.S. adults 18 and over (48% male, 51% female) from June 13 to July 5, 2023. These data are weighted by age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, and region according to U.S. Census Bureau 2020 five-year American Community Survey statistics. Sample: n=2,014, evenly split between 18–49 and 50-plus.

For more information, please contact Alicia Williams at arwilliams@aarp.org. For media inquiries, please contact External Relations at media@aarp.org.

DETAILED FINDINGS