83岁的Betty McKennon需要存款，于是她从位于新泽西州弗里霍尔德的退休公寓大厅走到一台OceanFirst机器旁。这台机器看起来类似于ATM，不同之处在于如果她需要帮助，可以按下按钮开始视频聊天，McKennon所在社区的银行柜员Kevin Williams就会在屏幕上弹出并提供帮助。Kevin Williams的办公桌位于距离新泽西州汤姆斯河30英里的地方，但McKennon知道他的名字，即使他们从没见过面。
McKennon有一台电脑和一台Kindle Fire，但对她来说，技术仍然是一个挑战。 "我第一次使用的ATM很简单，但我跟我朋友说，你站在这里告诉我该怎么做。"在视频柜员的帮助下，Kevin可以协助她完成整个过程。普通银行分行能办理的几乎全部业务，用户都可以在视频的帮助下完成，包括办理存款和现金支票、账户间转账或为度假屋还贷款。
OceanFirst Bank完成的不过是通过技术帮助解决需求的一小部分工作。McKennon所在的退休社区Applewood里有商店、餐厅、画廊和游泳池，但没有银行。社区2014年联系了OceanFirst，探讨设立微型支行的可能性。银行认为从经济方面考虑意义不大，但包括美国银行在内的其他银行正在尝试使用视频柜员机，OceanFirst认为这项技术可能适用于养老院的居民。首席执行官Christopher Maher说："他们竟然这么快就接受了这项技术。你觉得采用这项技术不过是一种服务延伸，但是不需要银行卡或任何东西，只需按下按钮并与人交谈就能完成银行业务，正是这一点吸引他们接受这项技术。"
许多老年人都能很好地使用数字金融服务。皮尤研究中心2017年的一项研究发现， 65岁以上人群有67％都使用互联网，80％使用手机。较年轻的老年人，也就是退休不久的人，几十年来一直在使用数字技术。尽管如此，老年人技术服务公司创始人兼执行董事Tom Kamber说，"老年人对技术的体验与其他人群的体验完全不同。"他的团队与美国第一资本信贷金融公司（Capital One Financial Corp.）共同制作了"Ready，Set，Bank"系列在线视频短片，为老年人讲授数字银行业务的基础知识。
随着年龄增长，老年人使用金融技术可能会面临一些物理障碍，网上银行可以成为降低这种壁垒的简单方法。但是，记忆丧失的老年人的需求不同于普通人。对于他们来说，技术可以帮助他们的家庭成员或监护人保护他们，同时又能让他们独立管理钱财。True Link Financial是一家在线金融服务公司，目标客户是退休人员以及照顾老年人及其他成年人的看护人员。他们提供的一项服务是具有访问控制功能的预付Visa卡。家庭成员可以为卡提供资金，接收银行卡活动的短信提醒，并在线管理其使用方式，阻止行为人通过电话购物、购买特定商店的商品或特定分类的商品。
受控卡可以预防针对老年人的诈骗。True Link首席执行官Kai Stinchcombe表示，他们还可以帮助家庭处理复杂情况。例如，可以让被照顾者的一个孩子负责管理钱财，一个孩子负责提供经济支持，一个家庭照顾者无须去银行取钱日用就可以购买生活用品。在某些情况下，"你可以出去吃披萨、看电影，但是不能电汇完成位于巴哈马的投资。"
Digital tools can reduce physical barriers and help families prevent elder fraud. And the market is likely to grow.
When Betty McKennon, 83, needs to deposit a check, she walks down the hall of her retirement complex in Freehold, N.J., to the OceanFirst machine. It looks similar to an ATM, but if she needs assistance, she presses a button to start a video chat. Kevin Williams pops up on the screen to assist. He's at his desk 30 miles away in Toms River, N.J., but McKennon knows him by name. He's her neighborhood teller, even though they've never met in person.
McKennon has a computer and a Kindle Fire, but technology can still be a challenge. "The ATM I used for the first time, that was pretty easy," she says. "But I told my friend, 'You stand here and tell me what to do.'" With the video teller, Kevin can walk her through the process. Users can do almost everything they can at a normal bank branch-deposit and cash checks, make transfers between accounts, or pay a mortgage for a vacation home.
Financial technology is often focused on the needs of millennials. Banks and payment companies are pushing mobile apps and online platforms to accommodate the tech-savvy, who want to be able to pay bills from their phone or quickly send money to friends. A few companies are finding ways to use tech to help a fast-growing demographic: the elderly.
OceanFirst Bank's effort is a relatively small one that illustrates some of the needs technology could help address. McKennon's retirement community, Applewood, had a store, restaurant, salon, and pool, but no bank. It contacted OceanFirst in 2014 about the possibility of setting up a minibranch. The bank decided that didn't make financial sense, but other banks including Bank of America Corp. were experimenting with video teller machines. OceanFirst reasoned that could work for residents in a retirement home. "We were astounded by how quickly they took to the technology,'' says Chief Executive Officer Christopher Maher. "You'd think the adoption of technology might be a stretch, but being able to not need a card or anything, just press a button and talk to someone, is something they've adopted very strongly.''
Today, OceanFirst has three video teller machines in retirement homes and several more in other locations. They're using them instead of bank branches in some areas. McKennon, who uses a walker strung with peachy-pink faux flowers, likes that it spares her a car trip just to go to the bank. "And one thing I don't have to do is stand in line," she says. "I found that to be a real issue.''
Many seniors are well set up to use digital financial services. A 2017 Pew Research Center study found that 67 percent of people over the age of 65 use the internet and 80 percent have a cellphone. Younger seniors-those who've recently retired-have generally been using digital technology for decades. Still, overall "seniors' experience with technology is really different than what other demographics are having," says Tom Kamber, founder and executive director of Older Adults Technology Services. His group worked with Capital One Financial Corp. to create "Ready, Set, Bank," a series of short online videos aimed at teaching seniors the basics of digital banking.
Online banking can be a simple way to lower some of the physical barriers that may come with age. But older people who suffer from memory loss have different needs. For them, tech can be a way to help their family members or guardians protect them while allowing them some independent control of their money. True Link Financial is an online financial-services company designed specifically for retirees and people who act as caretakers for seniors and other adults. One of its services is a prepaid Visa card with access controls. A family member can fund the card, get text alerts about card activity, and manage online how it's used, including blocking purchases over the phone or from certain stores or categories of spending.
Controlled cards can be one step in preventing scammers who target the elderly. They can also help families manage complex situations, says Kai Stinchcombe, CEO of True Link. For example, a person might have one child managing the money, another providing financial support, and an in-home caregiver who buys groceries but doesn't go to the bank to get everyday cash. In some cases, "you should be able to go out for pizza and to the movies but not make wire transfers for investment opportunities to the Bahamas," Stinchcombe says.
True Link charges $10 a month for its card. There are lots of other prepaid cards, and some have lower monthly fees and allow people to set up accounts for family members and set spending limits. Stinchcombe says these aren't specifically designed around the needs of seniors and their families. Other cards are often marketed to people who don't use banks, or to families with teenagers or college students.
But as more Americans move into old age, expect more businesses to be pitched to the needs of seniors. By dint of a lifetime of savings, people over 65 typically have a higher net worth than others. "You would think there would be a big focus on older folks, but there isn't," says Liz Loewy, co-founder and chief operating officer of EverSafe, a subscription service that analyzes bank accounts and credit card use to look for unusual activity. It can alert the account holder and family members or other trusted people. "I think that fintech and aging should be a natural combination," she says. "I'm actually waiting for more folks out there in fintech to focus on this."