If you’ve had to introduce Mom and Dad to one of your surlier significant others — you know, the one who just couldn’t drop politics at the door — then introducing them to mobile banking should be painless, right?
People who don’t use mobile banking have their reasons: They don’t see the need for it, they’re happy with their current setup, or they have security concerns, to name just a few.
That’s according to a Federal Reserve Board report that also found that only about 1 in 5 respondents age 60 and over with a mobile phone and a bank account used mobile banking in the 12 months before the survey was taken.
Here’s how you can teach your parents about a technology that is bound to make their lives a bit — and maybe even a lot — easier.
The Fed found that people shun mobile banking largely because they think their banking needs are already being met. In other words, they just don’t see the point.
If your parents are reluctant to take the mobile-banking step, point out the advantages, starting with convenience: Mobile banking makes it significantly easier to monitor balances in checking and savings accounts, deposit checks and communicate with your bank.
Antonia Donato’s mother, Katherine, was one of those who thought mobile banking was pointless.
“She just couldn’t understand why it was necessary to use a smartphone for paying for things, checking account balances and monitoring activity,” says Donato, a 28-year-old public relations professional in New York.
Her mother “was very set in her ways” and worried that “mobile banking would be more of a burden than a convenience,” she adds.
Luckily for Donato, one text message was all it took to help her mother see the light.
At dinner one night, her mother observed how Donato received a text from her bank regarding a potentially fraudulent charge in her account. Donato immediately replied saying that she recognized the transaction and that no further action was necessary.
Her mother “was amazed,” Donato says, and never looked back. Today, her mother uses mobile banking “for everything, from paying her bills to checking her account status,” she says.
Depositing checks and saving money
AJ Saleem, the 30-year-old director of a tutoring and test prep company in Houston, recently introduced his parents, both in their 60s, to mobile banking. Like Donato’s mother, Saleem’s parents were reluctant to give the technology a go.
“I managed to get them over the hump by showing them how to deposit a rebate check,” Saleem says, adding that since his parents were busy preparing for the holidays, they had less time to go to a branch location.
The mobile check deposit feature was a welcome addition. Saleem’s parents now use mobile banking for paying bills and monitoring their transactions.
Aside from convenience, don’t forget to explain to your parents how mobile banking might even help them save money. Here are a few examples:
- Easy account access can help prevent overdraft fees.
- Automated bill pay can help prevent late fees.
- Text and email alerts can make it easier to fight fraud or minimize losses if you’ve already been targeted.
- Mobile check deposit saves you a trip to the bank.
» MORE: How to write a check like a Nerd
Worries about security
Security concerns are another reason many don’t use mobile banking. If your parents are in this category, you can reassure them of the extensive security measures that banks take. You don’t have to launch into a super technical rundown of mobile security features, but it could be helpful to explain the basic measures.
Alliant Credit Union, for example, uses fingerprint login and a backup PIN for its mobile app, and it will automatically log you out if you leave the app, said Angi Milano, Alliant’s mobile channel manager. Other financial institutions are incorporating many of the same features.
The user-experience question
Another reason Mom and Dad might not be using mobile banking? Small screens and other usability issues. The good news is that Alliant and others are trying to make the experience as seamless as possible.
“Completing transactions is intentionally simple,” Milano says of Alliant’s app. “We even made the font sizes within the app responsive to the user’s general phone settings, to address various vision needs for app users and improve the overall experience.”
Of course, some mobile apps are better than others. Some might not incorporate responsive font sizes, for example. If that’s the case, you may want to introduce your parents to online banking, which may be easier for them to navigate. Though a slightly more extreme measure, switching banks because of a poor mobile app is also an option.
Mobile banking can be intimidating and can trigger a flurry of concerns. As valid as some of those may be, they shouldn’t stand in the way of your parents giving mobile banking a shot.
It’s a technology that really can help lighten the load, and though it won’t solve all of life’s problems, it’s a step in the right direction.