Westpac backs AI for digital banking
Australian bank Westpac is to trial the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in its digital banking systems, as it looks to automate customers’ queries.
With the rise of digital banking, Westpac’s general manager of consumer digital, Travis Tyler, says it is looking at using “bots” to respond to customers’ simple questions.
One example includes the bank working on a “proof of concept” over the next six months for a digital system to provide answers to consumer questions about the best deposit rates available.
In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Tyler says: “If your term deposit is rolling over, and you simply ask, ‘What’s the best rate, this is what I want to achieve?’, it will come back with the best options and you can simply say, ‘Yeah, book it.’”
Another example cited by Tyler includes answering simple questions about payments between accounts.
“Bots are the new big thing at the moment, and that’s where we’ll look to start experimenting as well, with some of the simpler interactions for customers. You will start to see AI start integrating in some services in financial services over the coming year,” Tyler says.
He adds that “customers might be able to have their questions answered by a bot over the phone, or send their questions in writing”.
As well as AI, Tyler says the bank is involved in biometrics – such as “fingerprint scanning on smartphones to allow customers to skip having to enter a password when ringing a call centre”.
The recent increase in the usage of AI is well known.
Challenger banks in the UK and Germany turned their attention to AI as they seek to provide a more personalised approach to banking.
Barclays Africa is piloting a chatbot, making it the “first bank” to do so in Africa. The chatbots will use AI to simulate “intelligent conversation” through written or spoken text.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) installed advanced “human” AI to help its staff answer customer queries. The bank says a two month trial was “successful “and the AI, known as ‘Luvo’, is to be rolled out more widely to support employees.
In an opinion piece, Gideon Hyde, co-founder of Market Gravity, looked at “Clever banking with artificial intelligence”.