Santander has been forced to compensate customers over the restricted abilities in accessing its online banking platform without a mobile phone. 

A financial ombudsman has ordered the bank to compensate customers following complaints that they were age discriminated against, being told they can only verify certain transactions with a mobile phone, according to The Telegraph. 

As previously reported, the bank informed customers who did not own a mobile phone to refer to a branch or communicate over the phone to retrieve a pin code that could only be sent via text or via their mobile app to access their account. 

The financial third-party eventually ruled that Santander policies were unfair, compensating customers hundreds of pounds. 

In 2020, Santander altered its online service to allow verification codes to be sent via email if a customer does not own a mobile phone. 

This comes as the cost of living crisis and the emergence from the pandemic underlines the importance of financial inclusion. 

According to the The Payments Association, which last year published its new insight into issues that young and elderly age-groups in the UK face when it comes to accessing financial services, fintechs can be key in boosting financial inclusion. 

The research coincides with England’s emergence from its second lockdown and underlines some of the inclusivity initiatives and solutions that are currently offered by fintechs to address these issues.

The Financial Inclusion Commission detailed that the larger majority of those that struggle with financial inclusion are either aged 16-24 or over 65. Furthermore, it comes at a time when the issue is heightened due to the global financial crisis. 

The report bolstered the body in its bid to bring the issue to the forefront of media attention and increase the support for those who are most likely to be impacted. Josh Berle, Business Development Director, Mastercard, and Lead of EPA Project Inclusion, added: “Mastercard is delighted to support EPA’s Project Inclusion and thrilled to have helped produce this new report, which is full of rich takeaways on improving inclusion for all types of users at risk and particularly the youngest and older age groups.”