Banking app Toucan is among the five finalists competing for a share of £10,000 and specialist business support at the Innovating for Ageing awards, as an adviser education tool from Society of Later Life Advisers (Solla) missed out.
Run by Just and The International Longevity Centre UK, the competition aims to find solutions to address the challenges faced by vulnerable consumers in later life.
Toucan, an app developed by Bailey Kursar, lets its users share their bank balance status with a trusted friend or carer using a simple traffic light system that protects against financial abuse.
The other four finalists include The Chatty Café Scheme - a scheme encouraging cafes to have a ‘Chatter & Natter’ table so customers can engage with each other - MySense and Walk With Path.
David Sinclair, director of ILC-UK, said: "For too long the start-up and innovator community has failed to engage with the business opportunity of ageing. Innovating for Ageing shows that this is changing.
"These finalists, and many of the other companies who submitted solutions, are leading the way in helping ensure that the needs of vulnerable consumers are best met."
The five finalists have been selected from the 77 submissions that entered the competition over the summer of 2018. These submissions were then narrowed down by the project’s advisory board to 12 shortlisted entries who subsequently pitched their solutions to an independent, expert judging panel in October.
Among the 12 shortlisted entries was The Society of Later Life Advisers (Solla), for its development of a computer-based training programme to educate advisers about how to handle vulnerable customers, which it aimed to roll out this year.
Solla didn’t make the five finalists, which the judges chose based on those that best met the competition’s criteria.
Scott Gallacher, chartered financial planner at Rowley Turton, had some concerns about the effectiveness of some of the proposed solutions.
He said: "As adviser’s clients age, concerns about possible capacity issues are an increasing issue. This is not only from a business perspective but perhaps more importantly most advisers genuinely care for their clients and want to ensure the very best for them.
"Whilst the Toucan app sounds a great idea, I suspect that GDPR concerns, not to mention advisers’ own worries about being seen to be overstepping the mark with clients, would make it difficult for advisers to use this in the real world.
"A local café uses the Chatty Café scheme, which I think is a great idea but again I’m not sure how advisers could use in practice unless they have a high street presence."
Martin Bamford, chartered financial planner at Informed Choice, said more needed to be done within financial services.
He said: "Innovation to help address the challenges faced by our ageing population is so important. Technology innovation in particular looks set to make our lives easier as we age.
"As we get older, we can become more vulnerable to financial abuse or scams. The Toucan app is a simple yet effective way to give a trusted friend or relative access to the headlines of your personal finances, so they can quickly identify any irregularities and offer their support if needed.