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Lloyds Banking Group is providing free tablet devices and digital training to vulnerable customers who find themselves cut off because of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Under the plan, up to 2,000 tablets will be sent to customers aged over 70 who do not already have a suitable device to go online with.
The bank has also partnered digital training provider We Are Digital to offer a dedicated phone line that will provide support and training to 20,000 customers to ensure they can be connected to people and services and can bank online.
“With guidance from We Are Digital’s agents, users learn skills to help with everyday digital tasks, such as online shopping and connecting virtually with family and friends, as well as online banking,” said a Lloyds statement.
We Are Digital provides basic digital skills training.
Local branch teams are contacting customers of Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland who could benefit from the offer.
Fiona Cannon, sustainable business director at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “For many right now, staying connected and accessing vital services is difficult – and for those experiencing isolation, this also can have profound effects on their mental health. That is why we believe offering practical and emotional support through initiatives such as these is so important in helping our vulnerable customers to feel more connected and in control.”
With the UK lockdown, which only permits people to leave their homes for essential shopping and exercise, likely to be in force some weeks yet, digital banking and other online services will become essential to everyone – but older people who lack support will find the transition difficult.
Read more about Lloyds Banking Group
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- Lloyds Banking Group is transforming the IT tools its staff use through a deal with Microsoft, as a component of its £3bn digital transformation
Digital banking is evolving rapidly and while young people are more likely to keep up with trends, the older generation can get left behind. For example, it was not that long ago that online banking began to take over from branch-based banking as the favoured method for people to receive services from banks.
This led to banks reducing the number of branches they operate while encouraging people to bank online. Lloyds itself is investing in new technology to make banking simple and easier for customers, as well as reduce costs, as part of a £3bn digital transformation project.
But now, online banking itself is being overtaken by mobile app-based banking as the most popular channel.
A survey of more than 13,000 consumers published last year, which was carried out by financial services review firm Smart Money People, found that in 2018, 39% of people preferred using apps to bank, while the online banking channel was preferred by 38.6%.Telephone banking and branch-based banking were preferred by 11.4% and 11%, respectively.