With the start of Internet Banking in the 1990s, the banking sector has evolved steadily. Mobile Banking, as well as banking across different platforms, were only a few further steps on the way to create a digital bank. Banking chatbots are the next logical step in this evolutionary chain.
Under the keyword “Conversational Banking” you will find more and more interesting projects that give you an idea of how the banking of the future will look like.
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In this article, we take a closer look at the topic and use practical examples to show how chatbots are already being used in the banking world today.
What is Conversational Banking?
Chatbots in banking are not just another banking app. A banking app requires users to download an application. Not so when using a banking bot. The bots are integrated into existing applications. For example, they can be used as an advisor within the banking platform or on social networks to answer questions immediately and provide advice and assistance around the clock.
The goal of Conversational Banking is that bots take over the tasks previously handled by a personal advisor in the branch. In the future, the bot should be able to provide support throughout the entire customer journey.
This ranges from taking over initial marketing activities to product inquiries and onboarding of potential customers to services and consulting for existing customers. Let’s take a look at some real-life examples to see what is already possible today and how the future of banking can look like.
N26: Customer inquiries answered automatically
For example, the German direct bank N26 cooperates with the NLU company Rasa to be able to answer customer queries with the help of a bot. By working with Rasa, N26 is now able to answer customer queries automatically in five different languages, while complying with the necessary data protection laws.
According to Rasa, N26 currently answers 20 percent of customer queries automatically. N26 aims to extend this to 30 percent and wants to answer even more complex customer queries with the help of bots.
Bank of America: The personal banking assistant
With Erica, the personal banking assistant, the Bank of America is providing its users with a digital assistant to support them in their day-to-day banking activities.
Among other things, Erica helps to keep an eye on the current account balance, make transfers or block/unblock debit cards. It is possible to interact with Erica via text or voice. In addition, Erica is used for the bank’s bonus program and notifies users as soon as they can receive certain benefits.
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Mastercard: Banking via Facebook Messenger
Mastercard and the company Kasisto are taking a slightly different approach. Users can ask their financial questions via Facebook Messenger or SMS. Thus, the company is responding to the trend towards the increased use of messenger services instead of offering the bot as a service in its own app.
This makes it possible for users to shop via Facebook and pay directly. With the help of the so-called Masterpass, checkout becomes easier, as there is no need to enter the password and account data can be securely stored in one place.
Santander UK: Payment via voice
At Santander UK, language control is not only used to improve the user experience. It is used to verify transfers, too. This will eliminate the need for passwords and security codes in the future.
Santander has been testing Voice ID since 2016. Currently, the company is rolling out this function and wants to make it available to all users until the end of the year.
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