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Integrated finance bridges the generation gap

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The pandemic has given us all a chance to become more polished digital natives.

But consider for a moment that we don’t often think about what’s “behind” integrated finance and payments, especially if we’re younger and more adept with technology. Instead, we weigh the exchange value – what we are request to be provided, in relation to the value of what is to be provided.

As Walt Granville, Senior Vice President of Banking and Network Operations and Partnerships at Netspend, Karen Webster, CEO of PYMNTS, put it, “We talk about FinTech and finance – and I doubt any consumer of these services be familiar with these terms.”

More and more people from older cohorts – think baby boomers and the silent generation – have moved online in droves to transact. cautioned that delivering new online offerings to these older users should be done iteratively, in a way that makes them feel comfortable and, ideally, keeps them coming back.

As elsewhere in the midst of the great digital shift, there is a clear generational divide. Older users are both skeptical and vulnerable when it comes to interacting with the very apps that could make their online financial lives a little easier.

A packaging problem

To put it in real terms, a consumer opening a Venmo account or setting up the Starbucks app is most likely unaware that they are setting up a regulated financial account (much like they would, say, Account).

However, these same consumers know what kind of experience they want. They know they are buying a service that will allow them to buy what they want, and possibly earn loyalty points, in a controlled environment. If the experience meets or exceeds these expectations, brands will win more customers and cement their loyalty. The more features and abilities associated with that account, the stickier they become.

Granville noted that ultimately consumers will aggregate more of their activities through the app, which will help drive usage of super apps when those apps take shape.

He added that in some cases, vendors are focusing on healthcare-related bill payment products for seniors – with education about the new offering placed in the mix long before the point of transaction.

Bypass the pitfalls

It’s not an easy task, given that, as Granville said, “there are a lot of pitfalls in there for older generations”, even though about half of them have moved online. .

Older consumers can stick to the rules they were taught as online scams proliferated: don’t give out any personally identifiable information and don’t give out your credit card number over the phone. Yet the apps that older consumers are looking to use require them to transmit all of this information by entering it online.

Granville noted that creating an informative and user-friendly onboarding experience can go a long way to addressing this innate mistrust. Let customers know what data is collected – and why it’s collected – on a low-level account, and they’ll be more comfortable when they upgrade to a larger account, all in a trusted environment. Eventually, these same users will feel comfortable providing their credentials and account information when creating accounts on an open banking platform.

See also: Payments integration gives brands more control over critical customer experiences

Healthcare is a natural choice for older customers to start interacting with apps, entering their data, and ultimately making transactions — and there’s at least some precedent here. Granville noted that online games, with finance integrated as part of the experience, can make older adults more aware of how apps and online payments and interactions can all intersect.

In the end, the elderly population remains independent but with guardrails.

“Having controls and being able to participate are some of the valuable assets that are given to older people,” he said.

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