Conversational Banking May Already Be Mainstream, Mastercard Says

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EXCLUSIVE—Two out of three U.S. adults are already comfortable interacting with retailers, banks, and other companies using natural language technology, according to a study released by Mastercard today.

The study, conducted by Mastercard and Mercator with 3,000 U.S. adult participants, found that consumers are already quite comfortable using text or voice-based technology — which relies on natural language processing, or NLP — for daily e-commerce or banking tasks such as paying bills, sending money, or making purchases.

“What we found was, NLP awareness is actually quite high. Consumers are actually very well aware, and that [awareness] is twice as high for voice as it is for text,” Kiki Del Valle, SVP of commerce for every device at Mastercard, told Bank Innovation. The study found that 80% of participants are “aware” of voice-based NLP services, compared to 43% for text-based services.

Moreover, 60% of survey respondents are using those voice-based technologies, compared to 37% for text. The overall awareness of NLP was 87%, with 66% of respondents citing that they were using the technology in some form or another. The device of choice for most of these interactions is, unsurprisingly, the user’s smartphone.

While consumers continue to grow more comfortable shopping, banking, or making payments via NPL — the majority of respondents, or six out of ten, indicated they used NPL for transactions on a weekly basis — commerce remains the top usage category for both voice and text. Whether users displayed a preference for text or voice, both groups cited concerns over privacy when it came to their payment data, Del Valle said.

“Seven out of ten consumers were very concerned about their payment information being comprised, [about] lacking a clear understanding of what happens behind the curtain,” Del Valle said. “90% of consumers are looking for validation of their payment card at the time of purchase,” whether that purchase is conducted through voice or text.

The methods of preferred confirmation differed, but the majority of participants (34% and 35% of voice and test users, respectively) cited that they would like a transaction confirmation with the last four digits of their payment card visible, according to the study.

Take a look at the full study here.

To learn more about the latest developments in voice banking and conversational commerce, join us on March 5-6, 2018 at the Parc 55 in San Francisco for Bank Innovation 2018. Click here to request an invitation.

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