Using apps is not an age thing


Olly Thornton-Berry


I have lost count of the number of times people have told me ‘our clients wouldn’t download an app’ or ‘most of our clients are older, they won’t know how to use this thing’. I knew deep down these assertions were incorrect but I needed to look at the data to back this up. 

After some number crunching the results were stark. In fact, users in their 60s who had downloaded the Thirdfort app were more likely to verify their identity successfully than their 30-39 year old counterparts. 

Let’s look at the numbers.

Across more than 4,000 app downloads a month, we found that 86% of all people who are asked by their lawyer to download Thirdfort do so successfully. While it’s hard to identify why people may not download the app in the first place, our research indicates that this can be down to would be home-movers dis-instructing their lawyer (usually because the transaction falls through) or  choosing to provide physical copies of identity documents instead. 

Of the 86% who do download the app, the success rate of receiving a completed and verified ID from users over the age of 60 is 96%, and what’s even more interesting is that this pass rate, while staying relatively stable, does suffer a small decline into the younger generations. The breakdown between age groups is as follows: 

Age - Pass rate
Teens - 94.7%
20s - 96.1%
30s - 95.8%
40s - 95.3%
50s - 96.4%
60s - 96.1%
70s - 96.2%
80s+ - 97.1%

One explanation for the higher success rate in older generations is the flexibility of the Thirdfort app. Despite mobile penetration growing amongst baby boomers, it is still the age group with the lowest rate of smartphone ownership - 71% in 2018 according to a report by Deloitte. To account for this, the Thirdfort app allows people to use the smartphone of a spouse, friend or family member to complete their identity checks without compromising the security of their information. The person carrying out the check just needs to have a rudimentary mobile phone (i.e. non-smart) which can receive a text message containing a verification code. While it is reasonable to presume that at least one half of a couple in their 60s will have a smartphone, if this isn’t the case, the ability to use a friend or family member’s reduces further the chance of people being unable to complete their identity checks using Thirdfort. 

Additionally, wider app usage trends show stark differences between generations. People aged over 55 tend to focus on the value proposition an app delivers and will be more likely to use an app if it helps them complete a task more easily, such as for travel or retail. This compares to younger generations who use apps as a way of staying connected and informed, with WhatsApp and SnapChat being amongst the most popular.  The benefits Thirdfort delivers with its remote identity checks supports these findings that older generations are more willing to use an app if it makes a task easier. Thirdfort’s support team also back this point, finding that older users display more eagerness and willingness to complete their identity checks using Thirdfort. 

Many law firms find these statistics surprising. Yet given the trends we are seeing in wider app usage and the data we are collecting here at Thirdfort, it seems unreasonable to assume that just because somebody is older, they are less willing to use an app. And so long as someone can download an app (or in Thirdfort’s case get somebody else to download it), age has little to do with whether they can complete the app journey. 

To find out how Thirdfort can help your firm onboard clients efficiently, get in touch at [email protected].

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for recaps and recordings of our webinars, invitations for upcoming events and curated industry news. We’ll also send our guide to Digital ID Verification as a welcome gift.

Our Privacy Policy sets out how the personal data collected from you will be processed by us.