Technology to help senior citizens

GR Thengdi highlights the importance of new generation banking system and how technology can be used to make our lives easier and faster

Using technology

It has become necessary for a senior citizen to become a bit techno savvy which will help him to keep pace with new age working systems adopted by everybody in India. Computers, Internet and mobile phones have become an integral part of our daily life. Use of these facilities will help the senior citizen in managing his finances easier and faster. Computers and mobile phones are user friendly and working with them is simple and easy. Internet, apart from opening windows of knowledge, enables people to get information of their financial transaction at home and help them to carry out financial transaction without moving from his chair. Senior citizen should have an account with a “new generation” bank, a credit card, should use a laptop with printer, scanner and Internet connection, he should use a good mobile handset for fast and easy financial management.

If we follow the new age working systems, it will also help senior citizens acquaint with these systems.

  • New generation banking system
  • Using computer, Internet and scanner
  • Using mobile phones
  • Credit cards
  • Demat account
  • KYC (Know your Customer)

New generation banking

If a person has several bank accounts, it is better if he has just a couple of bank accounts. A bank closer to his home is an advantage. These days most banks issue debit cards to account holders. These cards help the account holders to make purchase at merchant establishments and to draw cash from ATM machines of the bank and also from ATM machines of associated banks. The bank provides a PIN (personal identification number) which has to be used every time one wants to draw cash from ATM. The PIN is confidential and should not be disclosed to anyone else. Whenever cash is drawn or purchase is made using debit card, the bank account is immediately debited. If mobile phone number of the account number is registered with the bank, the bank sends an SMS to the account holder. If the account holder has not used the card but he receives an SMS from the bank informing that a transaction has been made against the card, the account holder should immediately contact the bank as chance of a fraudulent use of the card is possible and bank can take immediate action. The card holder should keep the telephone number of the bank handy for calling the bank in emergencies. If a debit card is lost, the bank should be intimated about the loss of card so that the bank will block the card for further transactions. The account holder will get a new card and a new PIN. As this would take quite some time, due care has to be taken to ensure that the card is collected every time the transaction is over and preserved it safely.

Preserve transaction slips and store SMS on mobile phone

Whenever a cash transaction is made on the card, the card holder has an option to ask for a transaction slip. One should get this slip and preserve it at least till the entries are checked with the bank statement. Likewise charge slip and the invoice of the shop should be preserved for accounting the expenses to proper head of account.

The SMS received from the bank should be stored in mobile phone by creating a folder in the name of the bank under “My Folders” is “Messages” if the hand set has a provision. Otherwise, the message can be saved in “Archives” for referring in future.

More services from ATM

The card can be used to avail several other services at ATM. One can get the balance in account, a mini statement showing last few transactions, for ordering cheque book or stopping issued cheque from payment. The card holder should get himself acquainted with use of these services.

Keep passbook updated

Most banks issue pass books to account holders and the pass book should be updated regularly. Banks also send accounts statements by post. Each entry in pass book or account statements should be checked and if any discrepancy is observed or if clarification to any entry is required, the bank should be immediately contacted for correction or clarification.

Use Internet banking facility

If the account holder has a personal computer or laptop with Internet connection and a mail account, the bank sends statement of account by email which one can get as soon as the month is over. The bank also allows him to access his account on its website. The bank will give a password which has to be used whenever one wants to visit the website of the bank. If the account holder wishes to make third party payments from his account, the bank will allot a transaction password using which the account holder can pay for several services like telephone and electricity bills, buy air and rail tickets without moving from chair. To get these facilities, the account holder has to register for net banking facilities from the bank.

Since most banks have net banking, banks issue cheque book with at payment at par facilities. The account holder can issue cheque to a payee at any place in India and the local branch at payee’s town will pay him the amount. Earlier, one had to get demand draft for such transactions.

Become priority customer of your bank

Banks provide services depending on the funds the account holder keeps with the bank. If the account holder keeps high amount of deposits with the bank, he is a privileged customer and bank designates a relationship officer to take care of the privileged customer. Since senior citizens have good amount of deposits, he should ensure that he comes in special category. Then some services will be provided also at the account holder’s home. Some services of the bank are on charge basis. The account holder should carefully read the charge schedule of the bank.

Everything in joint name

The account with the bank should be in joint name with the spouse styled as “payable to either or survivor”. The bank issues debit cards to both the account holders, Bank, however, will send SMS only to the first named account holder and the net banking facility will also be available to the first named account holder. Joint accounts help the survivor to operate account in case of death of one of the two. 

Ensure nomination

A nomination to bank account is must and the account holder should ensure that the name of the nominee is recorded in passbook. Nomination to account is all the more important if the senior citizen has no living spouse. 

Good relationship with bank

As the age advances, some difficulties may arise in operating the account. Signature may not tally. It is better to get thumb impression recorded with the bank. The relationship manager of the bank will be very useful in sorting out the problems.

Computer, Internet, scanner and printer

Senior citizen should have a personal computer (PC) at home. It can be a desktop PC but laptop would be better because if the person is going to live away from his home for quite some time, he can carry the laptop with him, PCs are user friendly and easy to learn. Senior Citizen should familiarise himself with Word and Excel. In Word, he will be able to write letters prepare reports and documents. Excel will help him in doing figure work like financial statements without any hassles. Excel has mathematical support and complex calculations can be easily done. For a senior citizen preparing financial statements, Excel is the best tool. If a basic accounting software Tally is installed in the laptop, one has only to feed figures with details of transactions under appropriate account codes and tally will automatically prepare all financial statements.

Internet connection

The laptop should have Internet connection of reasonable speed. Broadband connection usually is a wired connection which can only be used at the place where it is installed. Wireless connection will give flexibility to connect to Internet from wherever he is. Once the Internet connection is set up, he should get an email ID which is free. One has to select a user name and password and when both user name and password are confirmed by email service provider, you join billions of netizens all over the world. Your email ID is your address and the same should be selected carefully so that others can easily identify yourself from your ID. There are many companies who provide free email service and one has to open an account with each of them if you wish. It is however recommended that one should not have more than two email accounts. One account can be used for financial transactions and the other for general correspondence. You can send emails/letters free of cost to anybody in the world and the letter is delivered instantly. You will also receive letters from anywhere in the world if people know your email ID. Password should not be disclosed to any one and should be noted in a notebook for reference. If you forget your password, the service provider will help you to get a new password. One can store mails in folders like keeping a file in manual system.

Internet opens doors to information on every subject and the senior citizen can spend lots of time getting information on net. He can also access to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube which provides lots of entertainment. By using net banking facility, one can access to bank account.

Print copy scan

If a printer is attached to the computer, one can take print outs of the work done on the computer. Better to buy a printer with copy and scan facility. These printers cost less than Rs. 3,500. Once can take a photocopy of a original documents like PAN card, driving licence, telephone and electricity bills, ration cards, birth and school certificates, etc which are frequently required. Photocopy is a copy of a document on paper, scanning is a copy of the document on computer. All important documents should be scanned and stored in the computer in an orderly manner so that we take a print out of the scanned document whenever we need a copy. Scanned documents can be sent by email. Suppose someone needs a copy of your PAN card at a distant town. Normally, we will send a photocopy by courier. We have to spend on courier charges and the document will reach destination after a couple of days. If we send the scanned document by email it will reach the destination forthwith free of cost. The receiver will take print out at his end and use it. If the documents are large, we can reduce the size while sending. The receiver will enlarge it to normal size. Like documents, photos can also be scanned and sent by email. If the senior citizen has his children living in another town of in a foreign, receiving and sending photos and videos will be great pleasure. If the computer has a camera and internet telephone connection at both ends, we can make a video phone call and both can see each other and talk. Lot of business meetings these days are conducted by video conferring.

A laptop with camera, printer and scanner can bring joy and happiness in the lives of senior citizens.

Mobile phone: Personal digital assistant

Mobile phones are doing lot more work than receiving and making voice calls. A mobile phone is now called a personal digital assistant and like a secretary, it provided lots of services to owner. It is beneficial to invest in a good mobile handset. Once you have a mobile handset, you need to take connection from a service provider. Select the service provider carefully after comparing their services and tariff plans. Mobile connection can be prepaid where you have to buy talk time in advance. In post paid connection, you will receive a monthly bill for payment before due date. If we take a post paid connection, we can ask for details of calls charged. Along with the voice call facility, we should ask for GPRS service which is like Internet on mobile. When we have this service, we can receive and send emails, photos and videos. Most mobile phones come with camera and we can take picture and videos.

SMS: A great help in keeping accounts

Short messaging service (SMS) is very helpful for financial management. Messages received from banks and credit card companies should be saved which will be very useful in preparing accounts. Mobile handset also has a section called “Notes”. If we note down cash expenses on daily basis, it would be helpful in preparing accounts. The phone has a calculator which will be handy for quick calculation.

Do not miss anything because you did not remember

Calendar and reminder section can be fed details of anniversaries, meetings and other important events with time set to remind and we get alarm to inform of the event. If we set alarm for anniversaries, we get reminder year after year on the set time and date. Daily alarm helps to set our routine at fixed time every day.

Listen songs, radio and play games

We can download and listen to music and radio, play games and do several other things on mobile phone. What is more important that it helps us in our financial management?

The author has worked in the field of financial management over 50 years.

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