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IT trends spotted and checked by experts

FinX: Banking gets social FinX: Banking gets social FinX: Banking gets social
FinX: Banking gets social
Kiki Del Valle
Senior Vice President of Commerce for Every Device, Mastercard

FinX: Banking gets social

31 Jul, 2017 10:29 am

Artificial intelligence-powered bots are taking over frontline financial sector customer experience (FinX) tasks, enabling banks to cut costs, deliver greater brand consistency and sell more services.

The financial service industry enthusiastically adopted app-based phone and Internet banking, but the current rollout of artificial intelligence-enabled chatbots are set to reshape the bank-customer interface even more profoundly.

These bots, which are typically accessed within popular messaging applications such as Facebook Messenger, are becoming customers' personal financial advisors.

In addition to providing instant responses to balance queries and fund transfer requests, they can also convey further information previously only attainable by visiting a branch, phoning a call centre or logging in online.

This is reducing banks' costs, enabling them to provide superior customer service and generate detailed analytics that can be used to better tailor financial services to each individual customer.

"I see the migration from a standard, stand-alone transactional banking app, over to something much more conversational, much more social," said Colin Payne, Principal & Global Domain Lead, Digital Banking, Capgemini Consulting "This will involve a chatbot within an interface like Facebook Messenger, or WhatsApp, or wherever someone can have many conversations running at the same time, but still allow them an interface with their banking."

The trend towards bots mirrors smartphone users' changing behaviour. Consumers are now spending more time on apps, but access a smaller variety of apps - a 2016 comScore report showed 45% of users' time on their phone was devoted to a single app and 73% on their three favourite apps combined.

From early 2016, major messaging services including Facebook opened up their APIs to external developers allowing them to create bots within the platforms, while new financial legislation will soon allow third-parties to access customers' bank infomation - at the customer's request - to provide services directly to them.

Mastercard, the world's fastest payments processing network with operations in more than 210 countries and territories, is one of the financial institutions leading the bot charge, last year announcing plans to launch a bot platform for its bank clients.

Mastercard partnered with tech specialists Kasisto to run a six-month pilot of the chatbot, named Mastercard KAI, which enables consumers to transact, manage finances and shop via messaging platforms.

Kiki Del Valle
Senior Vice President of Commerce for Every Device at Mastercard

“Bots will complement banking apps”

What's the latest on the chatbot pilot?

Kiki Del Valle We ran the pilot to better understand consumer behaviour and see which services Mastercard can provide to our banks through this platform.
We learned there were a few areas of critical importance or relevance for consumers. These include the ability to obtain your account balance, check your latest transaction history, get financial advice and receive answers to questions that a customer may have for their bank. All this, via a two-way conversation in a chatbot environment.

We're here to help banks better manage their cardholders requirements and provide additional products and services that can bring extra value to the banks. We have finalized the pilot and at this point we're looking to enhance some of the internal products and services so that the banks can take advantage of those within their own chatbot.

What are the customer service benefits of a bot?

The fact that the bot can respond to a customer inquiry live via a two-way communication, rather than reacting to a set of FAQs that may be on a bank's website means that we are moving away from a single, standard way of communicating with everybody as a whole, to one that is more personalized.
There is huge opportunity in having the ability to drive this personalized experience. The bot is not only conversing with a customer. It can also sell different products and services. It's also able to change its personality, the content, the tone of the conversation, just as people do when they are talking with friends.

How can bots help with fraud prevention?

It's an area a lot of banks are leveraging, the addition of social indicators within the chatbot to help validate the authenticity of any given transaction.

Do you expect FinTech bots to largely replace standalone apps?

We know consumers are spending a lot more time on messaging apps and we've also seen a decline in app downloads. Consumers are engaging less with individual applications.

They want platforms that are bringing them additional value. Consumers are spending about 5-6 hours on messaging apps each week. Crucially, you're not limited to providing customer support in a chatbot. It's another channel for the merchants or the financial institutions to engage with their customers.

We believe that for a time bots will play a complementary role to banking apps, mainly because today you still can't provide every service that you're providing on a mobile banking app in a chatbot.

To what extent is this going to change the distribution of financial services products?

It will change the speed at which we can deliver new products and services to the consumer, helping expedite a lot of the benefits. It's also going to help close the gap with the consumer so that you get to this end state where the bank becomes more of a financial advisor for everything that the consumer does.

So Mastercard will create a bot that your bank clients will then personalize and deploy?

Yes, it's our traditional business model. We're working to make sure that we help our banks through this digital journey and that we get ready to help facilitate the different experiences that they envision for the cardholders.

Kiki del Valle


Kiki Del Valle is Senior Vice President of Commerce for Every Device at Mastercard. In this role, she leads the execution of Mastercard's digital strategy, managing the company's product strategy and relationships with key digital partners including device manufacturers, digital vendors and telecom operators.

Having joined Mastercard in 2008, Kiki was previously responsible for building its payments strategy with the likes of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter.
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