For those who think they could use some help with managing their finances and also for those who are already great at it, there is good news! Assistance, of the virtual kind, namely chatbots, is here to save the day. Artificial Intelligence (AI), especially conversational user experience (UX) platforms, are currently experiencing a huge boom in the banking industry. Major banks and financial services have now joined the ‘chatbot revolution’ in order to take their customer service to the next level.
Conversational platforms are designed to automate operations that previously demanded a lot of time and unwavering attention. A number of banks from various countries have already developed and implemented chatbots of their own. Let’s take a look at the biggies:
One of the largest banks of U.S., Bank of America (BofA) seems to be driving the financial chatbot revolution. In 2016, Erica, a voice and text-enabled chatbot was unveiled by BofA as an intelligent digital assistant that would help its customers make smarter banking decisions. Erica performs a variety of tasks including paying bills within the dedicated BofA app, notifying customers about their FICO scores ( Fair Isaac Corporation scores) and identifying possible areas for each customer to save more, based on their financial habits. The bot is set to be launched soon.
MasterCard has chosen to interact with its customers right where they hang out – social media. Its Facebook messenger bot leverages the power of one of the world’s largest social networking channels to reach consumers. The bot enables them to not only make payments but also to check their account balance, purchase history and spending habits. Regular notifications about offers based on users’ behaviour and loyalty benefits are also sent.
Much like the MasterCard bot, the American Express bot (AmEx) is based on Facebook Messenger. At Facebook’s F8 Conference, American Express announced an updated Amex bot for Facebook Messenger which will be made available soon. The latest version of the bot helps eligible U.S. Consumer and OPEN Card Members to get instant answers to their account and card-related queries.
The bot offers customers real-time purchase notifications, loyalty benefits reminders and recommendations. Customers can also link their credit cards to their Facebook accounts with the “Add a Card” feature and make in-app purchases right from Facebook Messenger.
Capital One’s text-based chatbot, Eno, assists customers to manage their finances by providing information like account balance, transactions, payment history. It also helps customers to pay their credit card bills. Interestingly, Eno was deliberately made gender-neutral as the overuse of female names for digital assistants has been faced with criticism lately..
Capital One had previously launched its own Amazon Alexa skill. Much like Eno, Alexa skill helps customers to stay on top of their finances by enabling them to check account balance details, upcoming dates for credit card bill payment and more. Moreover, based on the questions asked by customers, it offers a detailed review of recent transactions, complete with an analysis of their spending habits.
Rather than developing a bot service for its customers, the largest bank in U.S. chose to use chatbots for its back office operations.Its COIN can analyse complex legal contracts more swiftly and accurately than people. Since its launch in June last year, the bot has already helped the bank save more than 350,000 hours of manpower. JPMorgan uses the same technology to analyse and categorise emails for employees, manage most common IT tasks (e.g.- resetting passwords) and also to provide access to software systems. In fact, it is the bank’s plan to continue using bots in order to more efficiently identify newer channels of revenue, reduce risks and lessen expenses.
DBS’ Digibank is Asia’s lone digital-only bank. It offers customers round-the-clock virtual assistance via its dedicated mobile app. It is often referred to as a personal banking assistant that helps customers manage their banking tasks better by keeping them well informed. One can access its services both via text and voice. The bot has answers to at least 10,000 common banking questions, and in case it cannot answer a question, the bot connects the customer directly to a banking agent.
Santander UK has made it possible for customers to make payments with the help of voice-based biometrics. The bank launched its voice recognition technology – an extension of the already existing voice-based banking technology within their SmartBank app. The bot not only provides answers to the most commonly asked questions but can also help customers make payments, report problems, check account balance and their spending patterns.
Luvo, a chatbot launched by the Royal Bank of scotland (RBS) has enhanced the bank’s customer service. Luvo addresses basic queries, thus freeing up the bank’s staff for more important and complex tasks. Luvo uses natural language processing to understand users’ requests. Very soon, the bot will have better functionality with increased personalisation, accurate emotional understanding as well as predictive analysis.
Barclays Africa’s (Absa) chatbot connects with customers on popular social media channels. Absa’s
Chat Banking makes the bank’s services available to its customers via Twitter and Facebook Messenger. This feature enables customers to do banking including checking their account balance, making payments to contacts, reviewing transactions as well as purchasing electricity and cell phone data in a convenient conversational interface right within their social media apps.
Ally Assist, launched in 2015, is Ally Bank’s virtual assistant within its Ally Mobile Banking app. It can be used both via text and voice. It helps customers with bill payment, transactions, account monitoring, making transfers and deposits as well as in tracking spending patterns. It also addresses common customer queries.
As artificial intelligence make chatbots increasingly smarter and the technology becomes easier to develop and deploy, more and more banks are leveraging the technology to streamline their operations, automate services, and provide more enjoyable customer experience. With finance chatbots, these banks are enjoying better ROI. Industry experts opine that rest of the banking industry will follow soon. According to Warren Mead, Global Co-Lead of Fintech, KPMG, “Banks and insurers are always keen to reduce costs whilst improving the customer experience. AI, and in particular, conversational commerce is a natural next step in that journey.”
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