Challenger banks battle cry with AI
Challenger banks have turned their attention to artificial intelligence (AI) as they seek to provide a more personalised approach to banking.
German digital bank Number26 has launched Pulse26, a new app that uses AI to provide updates based on the customer’s personal banking history.
Number26 says the more a customer uses their account, the “more accurate” the analysis becomes. It adds that Pulse26 will also provide “periodic, fun insights”.
The firm says: “In the first weeks after launching this feature we will start with your favourite spot – the restaurant that you visited most and where you used your Number26 card.”
It says more insights are scheduled for release in the future.
In a separate development, Anne Boden, CEO of Starling Bank, says it plans to use data to give customers predictive insights into their life management skills and if they have sufficient money.
Boden says: “We will provide a facility open APIs to give the right provider at the right price.”
On top of this AI ambition, Boden believes banks of the future will focus on one product for their customers.
Speaking at Wired Money 2016, she says: “Nowadays, we have the big banks with lots of products with lots of customer groups and lots of different channels trying to own the whole experience. What if that changed?
“I don’t believe a start-up bank can beat big banks. They can’t offer all of the products to all the customer groups through all of their channels. You need to focus and do one thing really well; 20 times better than everyone else to give people a reason to bank with you.”
Starling is another challenger bank in a very crowded space. It was founded in 2014 and is due to launch soon. In January this year, it received $70 million in investment.
The bank is pursuing the concept of a single product and plans to only offer current accounts with access to payment systems.
Earlier this year, UK-based challenger bank, Atom Bank, added another system to its bulging IT set-up. This is WDS Virtual Agent, which will answer customer queries from an AI bot within the bank’s mobile app.
The solution is supplied by WDS, a subsidiary of Xerox. The vendor says it will “give the customers the power to self-service by getting immediate answers directly from the app”.
It will be “a near human customer care experience”.
More details on who’s who among the UK’s challenger banks can be found here.