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 Margarete, these perceptions of risk manifest in the following ways:
“I am often afraid I will make mistakes when transferring money online.”
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, Margarete tried online banking on her phone and entered the wrong digit. Instead of transferring $200 to her friend for a dinner, she entered $2000. Although they both had a laugh about it, she is now afraid of sending money from her phone – and leave this to her husband.
“I worry that friends and family would think less of me if something went wrong in any transaction I made.”
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, Margarete’s husband tends to dominate tech in their household. She recently bought him a birthday present online, but it has not shown up. She is afraid of telling him, not just because it would ruin the surprise, but also because she thinks she fell for a scam – which would greatly annoy her husband.
Individual Strategies for Managing Purchase Risk
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 online 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 for purchasing online products.
Prepaid cards. Another safe option for online purchases are prepaid cards from supermarkets.
Do your research. Research before committing to buying anything online, especially if it is a new app or a digital resource. You might not need it, or there might be a free version. If you are not comfortable with the purchase, don’t do it.
Be wary. When considering purchasing something online, be careful and critical, scrutinise the sites’ 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 regularly check your accounts for unusual activities
If you make a mistake or notice something unusual in your bank account – go to your financial institution immediately.