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Conversational Banking Is So Much More than “What’s My Account Balance?”

From summoning a ride to your exact location to same-day delivery to your doorstep, a primary target of technology today is convenience. And innovators are coming for your keyboard.

In the near future, voice control will take the place of tapping, clicking and scrolling. Rather than just ask a question and hear an answer, digital assistants will roll up their virtual sleeves and go to work for their users, from paying to paper pushing. In the context of personal banking, this conversational engagement will enable bank customers and credit union members to harvest more value out of their relationships with their financial institutions.

The opportunity with conversational banking isn’t being able to ask, “What’s my account balance?” while sitting around the dinner table or “Where’s the nearest branch location?” from your navigation-equipped smartphone. It’s being able to direct your virtual personal assistant to compile a report of your 10 most recent transactions and send it to you via SMS text message, to determine whether you received your advance child tax credit payment in November, to schedule a bill payment on its due date as you’re walking into the airport, or to transfer $100 to your college kid’s account while you’re driving to dinner. In fact, recent research found that more than 41 percent of consumers would be more likely to do business with a company that would let them use voice commands to manage money or payments.

American consumers are ready to make the jump to voice banking. In 2020, NPR and Edison Research reported that 63% of U.S. adults use voice-operated personal assistants. They’re speaking to their Apple TVs to watch The Blacklist and to their Amazon Alexa devices to order groceries that meet their dietary needs. These evolving consumer habits in non-financial aspects of everyday life are paving the way for voice tech to take hold in personal finances.

The beauty of conversational banking is not black and white; it’s the rainbow of customized results that meet the unique needs of the user. From a money perspective, this ranges from personalized recommendations for financial products to personal financial management (PFM) tools that empower the customer or member to analyze his or her spending and saving behaviors and patterns from multiple different angles, no spreadsheet necessary.

In February 2021, Bank of America reported that there were 17 million users of its Erica virtual assistant, an increase of 67% since 2019. There’s clearly a demand, and the good news is that AI-based conversational voice banking is now within reach for financial institutions of all sizes.

Banks and credit unions that offer conversational banking now are ensuring they don’t get left behind in the near future. The giants of Silicon Valley are laying the foundation for our everyday reality to be voice-directed by building voice-controlled, cloud-computing software into nearly every new gadget, vehicle and building. The technology will soon go far beyond interacting with your financial accounts on a one-to-one basis. Your personal virtual assistant will make it possible for you to easily pay, subscribe, buy, reserve, and more — to complete almost any transaction that requires your payment information.

While smart speaker adoption now exceeds 90 million users at 35% of the U.S. adult population, according to Voicebot’s U.S. Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report 2021, the story with conversational banking is not that the devices are becoming ever-more popular. The real story is with the software platform behind these interfaces. Artificial intelligence is enabling an unprecedented level of personalization and – you guessed it – convenience. 

It’s time for financial institutions of all sizes to rethink the value of customers and members being able to bank with the help of Siri on their smartphones or Alexa in their living rooms. Not only can conversational voice banking allow users to kick the keyboard, it can unlock a whole new world of capabilities. “What’s my account balance?” is only the beginning.

Banking with the help of Siri? That's only the beginning
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Joseph Brown

Joseph Brown

Chief Revenue Officer

ENACOMM

Member since

04 Jan

Location

West Menlo Park

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Digital Banking Trends

Digital Banking trends and Industry Intelligence for Bankers, Fintechs, and Solutions Providers


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