Kasisto Introduces KAI, a Smart Bot for Banking

  • Philip Ryan
  • June 28, 2016
  • 6

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / webkingAre bots taking over banking?

Yesterday, a Danish bank introduced a bot for simple queries (and soon, transactions) and earlier this month, San Francisco-based startup Dyme, a member of the Spring 2016 Bank Innovation INV class, released a prototype of a Facebook messenger bot whose functionality mirrors that of Dyme’s SMS-based application.

Conversational banking and messaging turn out to be convenient ways to access your finances, which is why Kasisto is now joining the fray.

Kasisto today released KAI banking, a virtual assistant/bot that does not have transactional functionality, but is capable of understanding complex queries. There is a KAI for enterprises, which the Royal Bank of Canada will be the first to implement, and MyKAI for consumers.

MyKAI operates via text messaging, Facebook Messenger and Slack. The text messaging version launched in April—the others went live today

I tested MyKAI last week and asked it, “How much did I spend on food last month?” KAI delivered an answer — then asked if I wanted the breakdown of where I had bought food. When I said “Yes,” it gave me the names of the stores and restaurants, plus the dates.

This was impressive. I then asked, “What was my largest deposit last month?” KAI did not recognize my direct deposits, but instead listed an ATM cash deposit I had made. Trying to trick KAI, I said, “I should really save more money.” KAI replied, “I can’t accept cash on your bank’s behalf. I see read-only data about your accounts and can’t act on it.” KAI should have mentioned to me that it works via Venmo, because it does — you can use KAI to Venmo money to your friends.

OK, it’s not perfect. MyKAI appears to be highly useful for categorizing spending and seeing how much you spent at Starbucks. Just try doing that on your bank’s app. Beyond that, it is still learning.

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Philip Ryan is Senior Editor of Bank Innovation and Senior Director of INV Fintech. He began covering financial services in 2012 and has more than 15 years' experience in online journalism. He can be reached at pryan@royalmedia.com.

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