6 Banking Chatbots That Make Banking Easy

stacked coins with pen beside

What are Chatbots In Banking?

Chatbots in banking are AI-powered tools that interact with customers to provide digital assistance, answer inquiries, and perform various banking tasks. They are integrated into websites, mobile apps, or messaging platforms and aim to enhance customer service and improve the banking experience.

How Are Banks Using Chatbots?

The rise of artificial intelligence and automation technologies has made banks and credit unions realize the potential value of chatbots in their operations. After all, most basic banking tasks, such as balance inquiries, loan queries, and others, require relatively simple interactions with customer service. If a chatbot for banks can handle it instead, it effectively becomes automated, saving costs and personnel.

Therefore, even without referring to any statistical data, it is safe to assume that chatbots for banks (like EVA) may be the most efficient chatbot’s purpose yet in terms of pure information-crunching and process handling.

This potential can even be improved further by studying real-world use cases of chatbot for banks, as we determine template recommendations for banking chatbots.

Specific Uses of Banking Chatbots

debit card being inserted into cash machine
Credit by Yelyzaveta Serhiienko/National Bank of Ukraine via Flickr

Chatbots for banks have been widely promoted for bank operations due to these several industry-targeted benefits:

  • 24/7 Operation – the undying (pun intended) advantage of chatbots in customer service. Banking, in particular, enjoys this benefit due to limited operational hours of human staff.
  • Better personalized experience – in an ultimately ironic twist, it turns out that interacting with an efficiently designed chatbot helps customers feel more engaged. This helps settle banking disputes, where frustration is usually just one hair away.
  • Quantify customer experience – straightforward transactions usually offer only numerical data, revealing no feedback from the customer themselves. By transferring the operation to something more intuitive (a chatbot conversation), enjoyment and satisfaction can also be gauged based on the customer’s “mood” picked up by the chatbot.
  • Targeted marketing – chatbot-based suggestions and offerings based on customer data greatly assists in offering these services in the first place. At least when compared to generic ads.
  • Streamline back-office operations – while customer service chatbots tackle frontline tasks, back-end-support chatbots integrated into chatbots for banks may be employed by the bank to simplify tasks, interpret graphical data, or process documentation. This is all while extracting valuable data from day-to-day transactions themselves.

Interesting Uses Cases of Chatbot for Banks

Chatbot for banks providing customer service on mobile phone
Credit by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Here are some of the most influential chatbot use cases in various banking industries and institutions to provide you with a basic overview of their potential and possibilities:

1. American Express Launches Facebook Messenger Bot

One of the biggest and most well-known banking institutions in the world, American Express, attempted to launch a brand new chatbot for Facebook in 2016. Unlike most chatbots during that burgeoning period, Amex Bot for Facebook Messenger initially did not make use of any artificial intelligence features.

Long story short, it was launched as a manual, “brute-force” interaction bot. In other words, it was designed specifically to filter out very simple banking tasks and to answer straightforward queries. This is all without providing too much variation in the responses it could take and the commands it could receive.

To be fair, from our present-day perspective, this did not seem to develop as well as it should have. But, it did at least provide the company with the leverage to use the technology while it was still “hot.” Today, Amex bots have newer design architectures inspired by Mezi, a chatbot company that they had initially contracted with but eventually acquired as a full subsidiary in 2018.

2. Commonwealth Bank of Australia Boosts Remote Transactions with Ceba

Ceba (pronounced as see-bah) is essentially a virtual banking assistant wrapped around in a nice layer of natural language processing. It is directly integrated into CBA’s NetBank and CommBank platforms, where it welcomes logged-in users and asks if they need assistance. It was launched sometime during 2018, at a time when CBA accounts “only” numbered around six million.

This chatbot epitomizes what chatbots for banks should do. Basically, the chatbot acts as an access hub for CBA’s NetBank CommBank users, providing features such as account balance inquiry, payment processing, bank credit configuration, and many others with a simple “conversation” along with a few commands.

In total, this flexible chatbot is capable of handling more than 200+ banking responsibilities daily, from the simplest information retrieval queries to the most complex account modification options.

It is also notable that just a year after it was implemented, at least 500,000 of its regular clients requested more than 500 different specific banking activities. To which, CBA is obliged to use all the features Ceba has to offer. Thus, this chatbot for banks is by far the most successful bot in terms of implementation, and its UI design.

3. Hong-Kong-based HSBC Builds Natural Language Policy Expert Assistant

To most HSBC users, the face of the banking company’s chatbot duties is Amy. This is a purpose-built customer servicing platform that takes care of virtual assistant duties. But, putting that basic chatbot aside, the more interesting chatbot-based project that HSBC is currently working on is that of DiagFlow.

With Google’s official support, the banking giant took on the machine learning challenge to deepen the resulting chatbot’s comprehension level. In particular, HSBC wanted to improve the consistency of its policy responses and, more importantly, to know the actual question being asked with near-perfect accuracy.

Because the project is still underway, we can expect several changes to the core design as it develops. In fact, HSBC plans to incorporate more “risk acceptance, risk issue, and risk guidance” feature in the near future, providing additional guidance on judgment calls. Additionally, the project would inevitably be scaled up for an increased generation of (learned) data.

6 Banks That Use Chatbots

Banking Chatbots

In terms of pure value and performance, these chatbot providers aren’t really that different compared to others within the competition field. So please treat this list as a nonexhaustive list that presents some solutions that can be found in a chatbot for banks design.

1. Aida & Amelia

Owned/used by: Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB (SEB)

Basic Profile: Aida mostly handles front-desk duties but is not as integrated as others in this list, mostly acting as an assistant to SEB’s primary customer service departments. Amelia, on the other hand, was built later to assist in back-office duties, providing employee and internal IT support.

2. Ally Assist

Owned/used by: Ally Bank

Basic Profile: Technically one of the earliest chatbots to come into existence, at least when it comes to their current identity as first-level query assistants. Aside from the typical natural language-fetched information, users of Ally Assist may also request data about their saving and spending patterns, as well as being given targeted suggestions based on such data.

3. Amy

Owned/used by: HSBC

Basic Profile: Only briefly mentioned earlier, but as described, it is a virtual assistant that drives support for any customer service-related issue of HSBC clients. Like most other AI-powered chatbots, it learns as it interacts, enriching its speech patterns for its English and Chinese language systems.

4. Citi Bot SG

Owned/used by: Citibank

Basic Profile: Another easy-to-use, effective chatbot that can be accessed conveniently via Facebook Messenger. Ask for account balances, process transactions, and make your payments as easy as visiting their page from your mobile device.

5. Clari

Owned/used by: Toronto-Dominion Bank

Basic Profile: This one is embedded in the company’s main banking app. Essentially, it is simply a natural language interface version of the same thing that is installed on eligible users’ devices. Not as complicated as more established chatbots, but it does the job and is a good example of how simple but still functional banking chatbots can be.

6. Erica

Owned/used by: Bank of America

Basic Profile: Does Bank of America have a chatbot? Absolutely! It is named Erica and money managing is the task assigned to this banking chatbot. Account checking and transaction features aside, it can optimize a user’s banking activities by offering information that could minimize wasted effort or spending. For example, it can check for investment balances and portfolio performance and even identify potential duplicate billing statements.

Mandatory Benefits, Mandatory Implementation

Starting in 2018, banking has become one of the three biggest industries to employ informational chatbots. The others are communications (59%), and general healthcare (64%). In fact, according to Accenture, at least 50% of all major banking and credit union institutions worldwide already deploy some sort of chatbot or at least are already in the process of adopting one. Insurance institutions too follow the banking trend by adopting the technology of insurance chatbots for better customer service and support.

This means that not only are chatbots for banks more convenient to use, but the conversational AI-backed banking industry itself is becoming the norm. As a result, the metagame has effectively warped to the point that not employing a chatbot for businesses or banks would actually be detrimental to the future of your banking-related business.

And this will continue to become even more prevalent in the next few years following the excess restrictions imposed by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

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