Amazon Alexa, Facebook Messenger on Wells Fargo’s Roadmap

canstockphoto8435139 (1)Wells Fargo & Co. is keeping busy on the digital payments front this summer.

In late May, the bank announced it will launch a mobile wallet in the coming months. Last week, the bank joined the clearXchange realtime payments network, and will offer instant P2P payments starting August 1.

Ahead of the earnings release next week, the two projects are a “primary focus” for the bank, but are not the only payments initiatives in the works, Ben Soccorsy, head of digital payments for Wells Fargo Virtual Channels, told Bank Innovation.

The payments space is evolving fast, and we need to make sure we are staying on top of it. So we are constantly looking at things like Amazon Alexa as ways to serve our customers and make banking easier. Banking through Facebook Messenger is a category we are interested in. Facebook’s got a tremendous number of users, and we constantly look to see where our customers are to provide the “anytime, anywhere” banking experience.

Soccorsy did not comment on any specific collaboration efforts at this time. In fact, among the larger banks, Citigroup’s the only one so far to reveal ongoing project with Amazon, developing in-app Alexa features.

For now, Wells is boosting its core app features to support instant payments, and the upcoming Wells Fargo Pay.

We have been building out customer experience related to this for some time. [Instant payments] is a necessary new feature and it was a natural evolution for our payments business. We believe that the clearXchange partnership and member banks have clear and distinct value propositions. Overall, the goal is to bring other banks into the network, and drive to more ubiquitous participation.

Real-time international payments are also on Wells’s radar for “when it makes sense for the customers,” and blockchain technology offers interesting opportunities in that regard, Soccorsy said (and Santander may confirm that ).

With the mobile wallet launch, the bank expects features like before- and after-purchase balance checks, as well as advance risk and fraud detection systems to drive widespread adoption. The bank currently has more than 17 million mobile users.

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