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Perceived Purchase Risk

Perceived purchase risk is present when people fear and are concerned about wasting or losing money when purchasing or using products or services online. This risk includes making transaction mistakes, not receiving goods, and processing errors. Many older adults are concerned about using online banking and making errors which could result in them losing money. Others are worried about not understanding products, services or payment methods when attempting to purchase items.

For Amon, these perceptions of risk manifest in the following ways:

Example 1
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“I am often afraid I will make mistakes when transferring money online.”

Example 1

This risk perception relates to a fear of making mistakes in transferring funds online. It manifests in observable behaviour as avoidance of online banking. For example, Amon tried online banking and entered the wrong digit. Instead of paying the plumber 200, he entered 2000 and had to contact the plumber. Ever since then – Amon won’t do online banking. He only pays people in cash or cheques. He is too fearful of making a mistake and then losing money.

Example 2
“I worry that friends and family would think less of me if something went wrong in any transaction I made.”
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Example 2

This purchase risk is focused on the fear that friends and family would think less of someone if they made a mistake purchasing something. For instance, Amon fears he would look foolish in front of his children if he had to ask for their assistance correcting mistakes with online transactions. As a result, he avoids online banking.


Can you relate to those example above?  Go to strategies to learn about how Amon can address these issues.

Individual Strategies for Managing Purchase Risk

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Be kind to yourself. Recognise that it will take a bit more time when you are learning something new.


Start with small purchases. You can learn online purchasing by making small purchases from websites of reputable physical stores that you know. They will often be able to help you if anything goes wrong.


Address details. Double-check if you have included the correct contact details - your name, email, and address.


PayPal. Use PayPal for added security as you don’t share your financial details with the provider. PayPal also reimburses you when your goods are not delivered. Alternatively, arrange a low limit credit card dedicated to purchasing online products.


Prepaid cards. Another safe option for online purchases is prepaid cards from supermarkets.


Be wary. When purchasing something online, be careful and critical, scrutinise the site’s reputation and read customers’ reviews. Stop if you notice anything unusual, it might be hackers or scams. If it’s too good to be true, it’s probably not true. You can always find safer alternatives.


Banks and financial institutions.
• Go onto your financial institutions’ website and explore their tutorials on online banking. Alternatively, go into a branch and ask for assistance and take notes.
• Remember to check your accounts for unusual activities regularly.
• If you make a mistake or notice something unusual in your bank account – go to your financial institution immediately.

Relational Strategies for Managing Purchase Risk

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Seek recommendations. Ask family members and friends from similar cultural backgrounds who shop online to provide references of places that are safe to buy.


Get some help. When making a purchase online for the first time, consider asking your family members/friend to guide you step by step. Remember to take notes so that you can repeat it later.


Courses. Join ICT (computer, tablet, smartphone) courses for beginners developed for older adults. Discuss what you need with your tutors. Share your purchase experiences with your friends from similar cultural backgrounds.


Banking and financial institutions. If you make a mistake or notice something unusual in your bank account – go to your financial institution immediately.


Share your knowledge. Share your online shopping experiences with your family, friends, and ethnic community members. Share advice and learn from their experiences.
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Strategies to Managing Perceived Purchase Risk

Perceived purchase risks are aligned both with the person’s ICT ability and the person’s confidence to overcome the perceived risk when engaging with the digital device. There are individual strategies people can do themselves to manage this risk, as well as relational strategies which consider the role of social influence on a person’s ability to try new things and interact with ICT.


You may be interested in
Other potential risks that Amon is facing:

will this digital device work the way I want it to – it includes forgetting instructions and managing passwords.
concerns about feeling incompetent, getting frustrated and being overwhelmed with digital technology.
worries about online transactions, not receiving the purchased goods and processing errors.
fear of buying too much online and the costs with upgrading software and devices.
concerns that digital devices encourage physical inactivity and becoming addicted to the devices as well as the strains on eyesight.
Amon Strategy 4
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