SEOUL -- To cope with a rapidly aging society, financial regulators will develop financial products, services and applications exclusively for the elderly as South Korea's financial community actively adopts electronic documents and accelerates the curtailment of offline business.
The goal is to create an environment where old people can use financial services safely and conveniently without being alienated from the social trend, at a time when the financial transaction environment is being reorganized rapidly based on the Internet and mobile, according to the Financial Services Commission.
"We need to respond to the rapidly aging population and changes in the financial environment in a more fundamental and comprehensive manner," the commission said in a statement. "We will reduce the inconvenience of senior citizens in using banks due to the closure of offline stores."
In order to minimize inconvenience for the elderly, the commission promised to establish alternative channels such as mobile stores using buses, unmanned stores that can serve customers through video and wire, and window business partnerships with post offices that have 2,655 branches nationwide.
As part of a campaign to realize a paperless society through the active use of electronic documents in public, financial, distribution and medical services, a paperless window service based on tablet PCs has spread rapidly among commercial banks to make transactions easier and reduce cost. Internet-only banking firms have built a strong base of young customers due to their user-friendly service interactions and transactions.
Commission data showed that the number of bank branches stood at 6,711 at the end of last year, down 12.7 percent from 7,689 at the end of June 2013. The ratio of online transactions for money transfer and withdrawal among those over 65 rose from 28.9 percent in 2016 to 69.9 percent in March 2020, but the portion of online transactions in somewhat complicated procedures such as loans is still low.
The commission said it would increase access to online transactions among senior citizens by creating exclusive apps with large letters and easy interfaces. Insurers will be encouraged to raise the upper age limit of insurance coverage, which is generally around 65.
Legal grounds will be provided to prevent financial fraud and the exploitation or discrimination of financial instruments against the elderly, the commission said, adding it would consider the development of a system that notifies designated people such as family members of payments over a certain amount.
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