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BankSafe: Qualitative Research on Banking and Older Adults



AARP has conducted in-depth interviews in the age 50+ market in order to understand attitudes and concerns about banking and to identify issues that may become of greater concern as the population ages.  This qualitative research provides insight into perspectives from the general market and also compares and contrasts the views of the Hispanic, Filipino, and Chinese market segments.

The objective of this research is to probe areas of concern relating to accessibility, safety, consumer protection against fraud and theft, and other topics across 4 market segments.  The study explores consumer attitudes and behaviors about banking (including credit unions) including:

  • How financial transactions are conducted – branch, land line, mobile phone, online, ATM
  • Relationships with banks
  • Methods of communication with the bank
  • Technology
  • Role of other family members in finances
  • Experiences with, and the role of banks in theft and fraud

Key Findings:

  • Most have a trusting relationship with their banks and are open to financial advice provided by banks.

  • Many have not thought about the possibility of needing help.  There is distrust in other people helping with money matters in general.

  • Those who go into the branch tend to have a stronger relationship with their banks.  But even for those who have adopted online banking, most still go into the branch occasionally for transactions that can’t be handled online such as refinance or setting up deposits for social security.

  • Most respondents use more than one bank and/or credit union, but have the most regular interaction with the institution holding the checking account from which they pay bills and debit expenses.

  • Fraud and scams are a big concern for everyone and an area where all would be happy to have assistance from their bank, whether in the form of monitoring or educational seminars.

Thirty-five in-depth interviews were conducted among the general population, Chinese, Filipinos, and Hispanics in New York, NY; San Antonio, TX, and Los Angeles, CA.  For more information, contact Lona Choi-Allum at


Suggested Citation:

Phoenix Marketing International. BankSafe: Qualitative Research on Banking and Older Adults. Washington, DC: AARP Research. February 2017.