With the popularity of messaging apps, WhatsApp has over one billion people on the platform while Facebook Messenger has approximately 800 million active users; it’s no surprise that banks want to access this port.

Chatbots have been around for a decent chunk of time. Since the days of MSN Messenger in the mid-2000s, chatbots were often used to gain information or advice. However, as the technology behind such solutions has developed, banks are looking towards it for more.

Possible services include customer service, balance checking, as well as payments and transfers.

Several banks already have this service in use. Bank of America, Citi, Ally Bank and American Express all have chatbots with varying functions. Actually, according to data analytics firm Personetics, close to 21% of all banks utilise chatbots and only 13.4% of banks have no intention of using them.

75.7% of banks told Personetics that they believed chatbots will play a major role in customer service over the next 2-3 years. 47.8% of banks think that it will have a major role in sales within the same timeframe.

What remains to be seen is if the customer is drawn to the chatbot or if they’re moved to that chatbot. It goes without saying that a chatbot is cheaper than a call centre full of staff.

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In addition, chatbots can do something that a team of staff cannot: remember. A chatbot can retain information securely, while calling a customer service line, then calling again at some point in the future requires re-entering information, something for which consumers have less and less time.

With regards to helping with sales, it remains to be seen if that is a viable course of action with the amount of regulation in the sector. Those observing the situation must be taking bets on the first bank to be fined thanks to one of their apps misselling a mortgage.

This is highlighted further when understanding how much effort is needed for a chatbot to understand an action. Personetics claimed that for every action a chatbot can perform, over 10,000 various sentences need to be implanted into the technology.

While we might be a fair distance away from the chatbot AI of the Oscar-winning film Her, the progress made so far is very interesting. It’s the talk of the town, but nobody is talking about it to chatbots just yet.