Whanganui seniors are quick studies when it comes to making the switch to internet banking and online awareness.
"We've just wrapped up a six-week stint in Whanganui with DORA [Digital On-Road Access], the wifi-enabled bus that provides free online banking classes," Kiwibank communications manager Kara Tait said.
Whanganui, along with Marton and Bulls, was the first area to experience DORA and 362 participants completed the Stepping UP digital banking programme over the six weeks it was in the region.
Whanganui was chosen as the first destination because it has a good network of digital enthusiasts and because of its proximity to DORA's Wellington base.
DORA arrived in late July and visited retirement homes, libraries, marae and supermarkets where trainers assisted people to better understand online banking and recognise and avoid online scams.
"The most popular event was a 60s Up Movement gathering that saw 104 locals participating in the programme at the racecourse," Tait said.
"A popular topic for the group was internet scams and everyone was provided with a copy of the Little Black Book of Scams."
A collaborative effort involving a number of stakeholders and produced by the Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC), the booklet carries the slogan "Knowledge is Power".
"For anyone interested, a copy is available on Kiwibank's website and it offers a comprehensive guide to dealing with online, phone, mail and door-to-door scams."
Tait said participants appreciated the chance to talk to someone else about doing banking and to be reassured they were doing okay or to get advice before making any changes like going from computer banking to smartphone apps.
"They also appreciated being able to take time to work through issues, felt if they had to ask relatives or friends they were imposing on their time and had to rush through the help and were embarrassed that they were seen to be needing help by them."
"Participants said they preferred DORA's relaxed training environment versus the more formal bank environment."
DORA is a partnership between Kiwibank and Digital Inclusion Alliance Aotearoa to foster inclusive communities where everyone has opportunities to engage with digital technologies.
"We also want to assist customers with their transition to alternative payment options as Kiwibank goes cheque-free from February 28 in 2020," Tait said.
"When the bus visited Broadview Village in Whanganui, there were a few people still using cheques.
"They said having others around them who were already confident using alternative payment options was reassuring."
DORA left Whanganui on September 13 and is now visiting Coromandel.