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Millions of Dutch struggle to get to grips with digital payments


Published: 30 January 2023

 Digitaal Betalen

2.6 million Dutch adults do not manage all their banking affairs on their own. This has emerged from a study conducted by DNB. Although many of them would like to be more self-reliant, they need assistance for a variety of reasons. We have identified causes and solutions, and call on banks and other players in the payment system - such as retailers and firms designing payment terminals - to act.

A large and diverse group

Over 1 in 6 Dutch adults are struggling to manage their banking affairs unaided (see Figure 1). This group is large and very diverse, comprising many elderly and low-educated people, but also people with low digital skills or physical or mild intellectual disabilities. Most are assisted by their partner.

Figure 1. Over one in six Dutch adults do not manage their banking affairs on their own

Figure 1. Over one in six Dutch adults do not manage their banking affairs on their own

Non-routine payment affairs are the most challenging

Actions that are not performed on a daily basis, such as opening a bank account, installing a mobile banking app on a smartphone or applying for a new debit card, prove challenging for many people. The same goes for online banking. Far fewer people struggle with everyday payments, for example at the supermarket checkout.

People experience different payment barriers

Several issues emerged from interviews we held with more than 200 people. Some examples include: having difficulty operating devices such as ATMs, POS terminals and smartphones, understanding texts and instructions, remembering codes and meeting time limits for specific actions.

Not being self-reliant causes frustration and embarrassment

People who depend on others for their banking affairs are greatly inconvenienced by the various payment barriers they experience. Their dependency causes them to feel embarrassed, stressed, frustrated or inferior. Some have difficulty accepting they are forced to rely on others. A smaller group of people resign to their lack of autonomy.

People propose different solutions

The people we interviewed come up with different solutions. For instance, they say they would particularly benefit if non-digital payment options were preserved and improved. They also told us they value personal contact with their bank and wish to know more about existing initiatives that can help them manage their banking affairs, such as service points. Technology can be used in a smarter way to make digital payments simpler and tailor them to users. Examples include using speech and voice recognition for people who struggle to speak or read Dutch or have difficulty operating devices, applying biometrics – e.g. facial recognition or fingerprint scans – to make logging in easier, and adding an option that gives users more time to complete specific actions.

Want to know more?

Read more about the various categories of people struggling to find their way in the world of digital payments and the possible solutions they suggest:

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