FOR many Jamaicans, including our seniors, the novel coronavirus pandemic has meant learning how to do things online that they had never tried before, including managing their money.
And while many have embraced this new way of doing things and have shifted some aspects of their lives online with a certain level of ease and digital know-how, for others, including some seniors, the learning curve has been slightly steeper.
This is the case for 63-year-old Emmy Walters, who sees online banking as more of an inconvenience than a solution.
"I want to stand face to face with the person counting my money and I also enjoy chatting with the bank tellers. I know many of them, because I've been going to the same bank for years," Walters said.
She noted that apart from the fact that she finds online banking to be impersonal, she's also afraid of touching the wrong button and inadvertently sending her money to the wrong account.
Rashiedee Brown, head digital transformation officer at JN Bank, said its normal for some seniors to be uncomfortable with online banking or banking from home, but assured that the process is quite safe, noting that an increasing number of Jamaicans, and even seniors, are using the service.
He said JN Bank has been doing its part to assist seniors in this regard and has put measures in place to make the transition easier.
Brown provided a few tips for how seniors who are ready to take the leap to online banking can do so with confidence:
Start with simple online tasks
One of the first steps is registering for online banking. For customers and members who aren't sure how to register, they can call the bank's Member Care Centre to get started or visit jnbslive.com and click the 'Register Here' link. From there, they can complete the steps to set up a new login.
Once they're set up for online banking, Brown recommended easing into tasks like checking their balances online.
"Once you get familiar with viewing and tracking your money online, you can then try more involved tasks like paying a bill or topping up your phone credit. The key is to get online and then build your comfort, one step at a time."
Invest time in self-education
Brown noted that even that first step of getting set up for online banking may cause feelings of anxiety for some seniors.
"One of the biggest barriers to getting some seniors to bank online is their concern for the safety of their money and their privacy," he said.
"We take safety and privacy very seriously. Seniors need to know that online banking is safe, but they do need to take caution and educate themselves so they can spot and prevent any possible risks."
To help address these kinds of concerns, JN Bank has, in the past, hosted several workshops with seniors to assist them in becoming more internet savvy.
Brown said plans are in place to reintroduce these classes both in person and online. The classes will provide basic information on how to use a computer, perform basic banking tasks online, as well as financial literacy advice to help senior members protect themselves online. For example, information on how to identify potential fraud or other online scams.
"Self-educating through the resources offered by your bank has the added benefit of enhancing your digital literacy, and that's true for any customer. The more you go online, the more familiar and comfortable you will become with using your bank's website and the internet in general," he said.
Don't be afraid to ask for help
Brown pointed out that COVID-19 has created a heightened awareness of the need to educate and help protect customers, including many seniors, by getting them comfortable with online banking. "It's now an advantage in terms of health and safety".
For those seniors who are new to the digital banking world, adopting online banking is just about learning a new skill. He, however, understands that online banking might seem daunting for some seniors to undertake by themselves and encourage them to reach out for help.
"JN Bank Member Care Centre representatives, branch colleagues and financial advisors are available to help customers build confidence when banking online. You don't have to do it alone," he assured.