Last year with funding from Capital One, Mercy Housing implemented a pilot project in Denver using Ready, Set, Bank — a free curriculum that helps seniors feel comfortable using online banking tools to better manage their financial resources. More and more people are banking online, yet less than 20% of seniors take advantage of online banking, according to the Federal Reserve Board. Online banking offers convenience, which is especially important for our seniors who have limited mobility and access to transportation. Despite the benefits, older adults tend to shy away from online banking due to limited technical knowledge, lack of access, and safety concerns.
The program includes videos designed to equip older adults with skills to manage their money online — like navigating mobile banking apps, setting up alerts, and protecting against identify fraud. Mercy Housing provides computers for the class and leads residents through the lessons, with support from Capital One employee volunteers. Feedback from residents who participated in the pilot has been very positive, and we have seen an increase in the number of residents budgeting effectively. One property even started hosting “smartphone classes” so that residents can use their phone for banking. We plan to continue offering the class at several Denver properties and expanding it to Westminster and Commerce City properties later this year.