Close Others, Older Adults & Banking


‘Close others’ are family members, friends, neighbours, etc. who help older adults with a variety of daily tasks. This research project investigates how close others help older adults with banking in Canada.

Recruitment Script

(recruitment now closed)

Investigator: Dr. Celine Latulipe (

You are invited to participate in a survey about how you help an older adult complete their banking and finance tasks. The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete. We would ask you about how independently the older adult you help does various activities. We will ask what types of banking and finance tasks you help the older adults with. We will ask you how you help the older adult (with in person banking, online banking, using the ATM, etc.) Risks to participating in this study are no greater than in everyday life. The benefit to participation is that you get to contribute to knowledge about how banking technology might better support you when you are helping the older adults with their banking tasks. Participation in this study is voluntary. The survey is completely anonymous. A separate survey form at the end allows you to provide your contact information in case you would like to be contacted for a follow-up interview, or if you want your name entered into a draw for an $50 gift card.

This research has been approved by the University of Manitoba Joint Faculty Research Ethics Board. If you have any concerns or complaints about this project you may contact any of the above-named persons or the Human Ethics Coordinator at 204-474-7122 or

To ask questions about this study, please email Dr. Celine Latulipe:

Survey Link

The survey is now closed. A summary report is below.

Consent Form

You can download a copy of our Consent Form for your records.

Final Summary Report

Data was obtained through the analysis of 44 surveys. Our survey results show that close others in Canada are doing a significant amount of banking on behalf of the older adults they support, and are mainly doing so via online banking.

A large proportion  of our survey respondents (43%) are older adults themselves, which is inline with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada report on banking [1] which showed one in five Canadians act as a banking proxy and do banking on behalf of someone else, and that Canadians aged 55+ are just as likely as younger Canadians to take on that proxy role. We found it particularly interesting that our survey respondents who are in the older age range (61-80) are most likely to use online banking to support their older adults (many of whom are in the 81+ age range). This defies common stereotypes of older adults as not being tech savvy.

The key results from this survey are as follows:

  • Close others are helping older adults with a variety of different banking tasks.
  • Close others are banking on behalf of their older adults more frequently than assisting them with banking.
  • Online banking is the dominant modality when close others provide assistance or bank on behalf of older adults.
  • Older adults are sharing online banking credentials with close others at a high rate (61% in our sample).
  • Many close others are designated financial power of attorney, but this is not correlated with independence level of the older adult they support.

Banks in Canada are set up to deal with customers or to deal with their officially designated financial power of attorney. However, we found that many older adults only need assistance with some, not all, banking tasks. Many of our respondents reported supporting older adults who had reasonably high levels of independence. This highlights that invoking financial power of attorney is not often an appropriate way for a close other to provide banking support. Banking institutions and systems do not explicitly support close others who provide only occasional banking help. Our results demonstrate the need for financial institutions to design banking technologies to more explicitly support close others who help older adults with finances. The lack of “proxy” accounts in Canada leads to a situation where older adults share their banking credentials with close others when they need assistance. This increases risk of security and privacy breaches for older adult banking clients. Privacy and security concerns were exacerbated by the difficulties close others experienced in dealing with the financial institutions, even when the close other was acting in official capacity as power of attorney.