Everyone is watching the development of chat bots and conversational commerce. US-based Kasisto is right at the heart of the space. It has launched its own banking bot and is helping others do the same. Kasisto won the 2016 Innovation in FinTech Meffy…

The financial services space is fascinated by chat bots. They seem to offer an enticing combination of the easy access of digital and the personal touch of the high street.

It’s why so many banks and card networks are experimenting with the concept. US-based Kasisto is helping most of them.

Kasisto has developed a conversational AI platform, which powers smart bots on messaging platforms. So, when a bank customer wants to find out her balance or send a payment, she can simply text the bank bot and make the request in natural language.

No need to open an app, browse menus, tap icons or scroll through drop downs.

There are two parts to the Kasisto operation. In June 2016, it introduced its own bot, MyKAI. This is a personal banking bot that helps manage money, track expenses, analyse spending and answer banking questions – all from inside Facebook Messenger, SMS or Slack. It supports 20,000 US banks and credit cards, so users can see all of their accounts in one place.

Meanwhile, Kasisto also works directly with financial institutions. It currently powers bots for customers including, Royal Bank of Canada, Mastercard, DBS Bank (Singapore) and Wells Fargo.

The main reason bots are so compelling is they reduce friction. Customers can ask questions as if they were speaking to a human contact. And because the account is linked to the user’s messaging app ID, the bot is already armed with access to the information needed. The user doesn’t need to prove his or her identity.

The bot also learns. It gets smarter with every session, refining the way it fulfils requests, solves problems or predicts needs. And it has a personality too. Indeed, Kasisto hired a Yale graduate, Fulbright scholar and writer to create it. The team crafted a character that’s witty and warm, but is also genderless and aware of its status as a non- human piece of software. It keeps the conversation focused on banking with gentle firmness. The bot can also explain 1,057 banking terms in jargon-free, plain English.

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