Varo Money to launch bot and money coach, Val
Mobile banking app Varo Money is bringing to market a chatbot and “money coach”, Val.
Val is powered by Kasisto’s KAI Banking bot and “delivers insights into spending, savings, borrowing and helps people set goals as well as offer updates and encouragement about their progress”.
Varo’s target market is millennials, says the vendor, and this segment is “hands on” with their money.
“Val’s insights are always personal, relevant, timely and actionable,” Kasisto states. The bot provides “human-like conversations”.
“Varo is bringing together this intelligent bot with deposit account, debit card, savings and lending in a single intuitive app. So in addition to insights, Val will also help answer FAQs, provide banking and app support, and assist performing transactions.”
Varo was set up in 2015 in San Francisco. It has gone through three rounds of funding, raising in total $59.7 million. The most recent fundraising effort took place in November this year and brought $5.3 million.
Varo’s CEO and co-founder, Colin Walsh, says the company’s aim is the “empowerment” of the millennial generation. “We are transforming banking to improve the financial lives for a generation of consumers often overlooked by traditional banks,” Walsh states.
Earlier this year, The Bancorp Bank signed an agreement with Varo to provide private label banking services to support Varo’s mobile checking and savings account products.
Varo also signed deals with Galileo Processing for payment and transaction processing services; Socure for digital identity verification services; and Cachet Financial Solutions for mobile cheque deposit.
Kasisto’s flagship product, KAI – a conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platform, is also used by a number of innovative digital banking players including DBS digibank in India.
Kasisto spun out of SRI International, an US-based non-profit research institute, in 2013. It is based in New York.
Fancy a chat(bot)?
2016 has brought plenty of chatbot action in the banking and financial services space.
Bank of America unveiled its new AI chatbot – Erica – to help customers make decisions on their finances.
Barclays Africa piloted a chatbot in summer 2016 – the “first bank” to do so in Africa.
Comtrade Digital Services built an automated banking platform that enables users of online/mobile messaging platform Viber to perform a range of banking operations entirely through a chatbot.
Canadian start-up Finn.ai (formerly Payso) teamed with ATB Financial for the “first ever banking chatbot” on Facebook Messenger.
Facebook announced its Messenger bots can now accept payments natively, without redirecting users to external sites.
Swedbank went live with Nuance Nina, a virtual assistant that delivers a human-like, conversational customer service.
USAA, a provider of banking and insurance services to the US military personnel and their families, has launched a virtual assistant for its website.