Rise of the bots: DBS to put virtual assistant in Facebook Messenger

Rise of the bots: DBS to put virtual assistant in Facebook Messenger

Singapore's DBS is rolling out conversational AI technology that will allow customers to manage their money and make payments in Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

The bank has enlisted Kasisto, a spin-off from SRI International which created the technology behind Apple's Siri, for the service, which will be rolled out in Singapore and India by the end of the year, with other markets to follow.

Customers will be able to use natural language to converse with DBS from Facebook Messenger, manage their money across accounts, track expenses and make payments in the process. Users can simply type "Can you please pay my mobile bill?" or "How much do I have?" to get their balance.

While initially only available in Facebook Messenger, DBS says that it plans to bring the service to other messaging apps such as WhatsApp and WeChat in the future.

Sandeep Lal, regional head, eBusiness, DBS Bank, says: "We know that our customers are spending time conversing on their favourite mobile messaging app, and we are immersing ourselves in the customer journey by making it easier and more convenient for them to engage us.

"With the launch of this service, they no longer have to leave their favourite mobile messaging app to conduct their banking. Customers can converse with their bank as they would their contacts, and we will handle the rest with a strong focus on security - it’s that simple."

The new feature is an important part of DBS's move into India. The firm acquired a minority stake in Kasisto earlier this year at the same time as it launched its digital-only outpost in the country.

At the time, DBS boasted that Kasisto AI could already anticipate and answer some 10,000 customer questions, with new knowledge added each passing day.

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