Although a lot of Fintech companies are looking at robo-advisors right now, several banks around the world are experimenting with chatbots for financial services. Barclays Africa is among the first banks to combine a chatbot with artificial intelligence in the financial world, but does this concept hold any measure of viability in the Fintech sector?
Barclays Africa Announces AI Chatbot
An exciting announcement was made earlier today, as Barclays Africa wants to venture into the world of financial chatbots. This solution will launch in the next few weeks, and the plan is to use artificial intelligence to simulate an intelligent conversation about the bank and its services. In a way, this makes perfect sense, albeit it is still early to tell how this initiative will play out.
Communicating with this AI chatbot can take place in either spoken or written format, which is quite a novel concept. Given the significant focus on mobile apps in the Fintech sector right now, a lot of consumers will be looking to communicate through text, rather than voice. Then again, there are always some people who prefer a vocal conversation over anything else, and it is positive to see this Barclays Africa chatbot offer both types of service.
Moreover, it is important to keep in mind consumers all over the world are engaging in social messaging apps as their preferred form of communication, rather than using social media. Fintech players are focusing on this direct peer-to-peer messaging aspect as well, which establishes a trust relationship between the involved parties. For consumers – and enterprises – to trust a chatbot, a similar approach is required.
AI chatbots in finance might seem rather futuristic to some people, but nothing could be further from the truth. At the time of publication, such a chatbot is capable of answering simple customer questions in a quick and convenient manner, which frees up bank staff members to address more complex issues.
Merging AI with finance is an area well worth exploring for anyone active in the world of finance and Fintech. Several institutions around the world have taken a more hands-on approach to this concept, and RBS recently deemed their trial “quite successful”. It seems only logical more Fintech and financial players will follow this lead by example.
One thing to note is how Barclays plans to launch this AI chatbot in Africa, albeit the company has announced they will be pulling their services out of the continent soon. By selling a majority stake in Barclay Africa in the coming years, they hope to increase shareholder returns over the coming years.
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