Bank of America to Use AI to Teach Americans Better Money Habits

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Right now, millions of Americans are struggling to keep up with their finances. We wrote several articles previously about the lack of education most of us seem to have about budgeting, saving, and paying off debt.

Bank of America is looking to change that.

On Monday, BoA held their annual Money 20/20 conference where they announced they’ll be rolling out their new AI banking assistant “Erica”. They hope that this technology will help people make better financial decisions for themselves and their families, specifically by alerting them to trends and opportunities found by their spending habits.

The bank also hopes that this specific AI will help improve customer service as well.

Daniel Latimore, Senior Vice President of Celent Banking, said, “The whole notion of customer experience for banks is so, so critical right now. They have challenges like security and being bulletproof — but consumers don’t care about all the constraints. They just know they can get great experiences elsewhere and they want it from their bank too.”

The goal is to use AI for predictive analytics to help customers find ways to save money or pay off debts, check their credit scores, and cognitive messaging to share ideas tailored around the customer’s individual banking needs.

Typically, this type of advice is reserved for top-tier customers, not the average everyday banker. The hope is, by helping customers save money and make smarter decisions, it will put Bank of America in a better position as well. Americans pay over $32 billion each year on overdraft fees alone, so this technology could really help consumers in a big way.

The only critical aspect of this technology is it looks to replace human workers with AI, maybe not right away, but in the near future. “Erica” will be able to handle bank transactions 24/7 and has no downtime.

It has been predicted that in the next five years, AI and other customer service technology will cost 6% of current jobs held by humans. We’ve already covered McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants switching to much more convenient kiosks and grocery stores implementing an increasing number of self-serve checkout lanes.

Of course, like the other companies, Bank of America insists that the new technology won’t replace jobs, but will make the entire banking process smoother and more convenient for customers, while helping them improve the way they do banking.

“Erica is designed to streamline the banking process, not replace jobs, said Michelle Moore, head of Bank of American’s digital banking. “This makes sense, as this type of technology is still very young, and correspondingly limited in what it can do. Over time, Bank of America’s programmers will add new features and make Erica “smarter” thanks to the vast amount of data she will handle.”

It’s still a young technology and Bank of America says they have no plans to start cutting their work force before the design has even been implemented.

“It is not a foregone conclusion that this will work the way everyone thinks it will,” he said. “The big question is whether Bank of America can and will react appropriately to customers use of and engagement with their digital offerings,” said Moore.

Last modified: July 3, 2018