Elderly Greeks Shun Online Banking, Prefer Standing in Line

Αssociated Press

FILE - In this June 30, 2015 file photo people line up outside an Alpha bank branch to use ATM machine, in Athens, Greece. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, file)

ATHENS - In 2020, the age of the Internet and technology, 20 percent of Greeks over 60 years old would switch banks to stand in line and carry out transactions to avoid trying to do it online, a survey has found.

It’s not much of a surprise to people who live in Greece as many Greeks won’t use a computer or cell phone to do business or pay bills, preferring to queue in often long lines at utilities and other public services.

Those who don’t want to use devices said it’s because they don’t know how to use them or the Internet and for a lack of information regarding consumer rights about online transactions, found the poll by the Association of Workers and Consumers in Greece, which belongs to the General Confederation of Greek Labor.

Even those who do use an electronic device – mostly smartphones or computers – do so in fear, as 62.56% of the over-60s who use the Internet spoke of their lack of trust in the security of online transactions, apparently not familiar with VPN’s and cybersecurity.

The survey was a part of the Active Citizens Fund program and the Digital Communities of Senior Citizens project for enhancing the lives of those over 60, most of the 366 respondents were pensioners with a monthly income of 500-1,500 euros ($565-$1696.)

Most - 73.5% - said they knew nothing about their rights and obligations regarding electronic banking and online commerce. 

Asked how familiar they were with the internet, 42.35% said “a little,” 35.25% answered “sufficiently familiar,” and 22.4% admitted they were not at all familiar with it. Only 46.72% of the over-60s use the Internet regularly, the survey found, reported Kathimerini.

A narrow majority - 52.46% - prefer to do all of their banking at a branch with only  31.97% preferring onlineanother 13.66% said that even though they are able to complete their transactions online, they prefer to do them at a bank branch, a place of socialization.

Attempts by banks to get elderly Greeks to switch to online haven’t worked with 54.1 percent saying if their branch shuts down - hundreds have closed already - they’ll find one that’s open, even at a distance, and 18.85 percent said they would switch to a new bank.

Only 27.05% said they would use the Internet if their branch closes, the reluctance due to a lack of familiarization how to use computers and devices and the Internet while another 29.85 percent feared data theft.