“We have insights that remind clients about subscription fees that are coming up, i.e. Netflix, Spotify etc,” Rami Thabet, VP of mobile at RBC, told Bank Innovation. “We continue to innovate in the areas of digital money management and helping clients lead healthier financial lives. We have a number of financial insights coming up that will make it even easier for them to stay ahead of their finances and to save even more.”
Eran Livneh, VP of marketing at Personetics, which worked with RBC to create Nomi, said subscription monitoring will be a “crucial trend” for PFMs this year.
“It would be an important service for banks or FIs to provide their customers,” Livneh said. “Everybody has multiple subscriptions like Amazon Prime – you name it. And people are really trying to find better ways of keeping track and managing those expenses.”
Personetics has created a feature that can alert customers of duplicate subscriptions. “So, if a user has iTunes and Spotify,” he said. “We can tell users, ‘you have two music subscriptions, do you need both?’”
RBC is likely to include this as a part of its offering. RBC’s Thabet did not provide a timeline for the new feature.
Already subscription monitoring apps like Truebill, and Trim exist. Both of these apps connect to a user’s bank account, and credit card information through Plaid‘s APIs. There are also apps like SubscriptMe, an iOS mobile app, that scans user emails for transaction receipts instead of linking to a bank account.
But all these apps are separate from a customer’s banking app. And in this age of digital decluttering, users don’t want a bunch of apps on their smartphones and instead prefer to have it all in a single app. And given that deleting one’s banking app is not likely to be part of the decluttering process, it makes sense for a bank to provide that service.
Already, RBC’s Nomi is a useful money saving tool for RBC customers.
Royal Bank of Canada launched Nomi, an AI-driven financial insights provider, early last year. Created by Personetics, it has so far delivered over 400 million insights in the first year, Livneh said. The feature has also increased usage and engagement with RBC Mobile, with Nomi users spending 97% more time in the app, Thabet noted. For a bank with 3.8 million active mobile users according to its latest financial report, that’s an impressive number.
Nomi also provides category-specific spending, such as monthly spending on transportation. So helping customers save on subscriptions seems like a logical next step. Bank of America‘s virtual assistant Erica, too provides such spending insights, but only when asked by the customer. This is the key difference between a virtual assistant and an insights tool, Livneh explained. BofA’s Erica also has a subscription monitoring feature in which it alerts the customer of a recurring charge.
“Nomi is not a virtual assistant,” Livneh warned.
“An insight platform is content driven,” Livneh explained. “It looks at the existing data and delivers content to the customer in ways that will be useful to the customer. This can be done in multiple ways. A virtual assistant is a way of communicating with the customer. Usually, virtual assistants are associated with a Q&A form of communication that’s typically initiated by the customer.”
An Insight platform, like RBC’s Nomi or challenger bank Tandem’s PFM tool, “proactively provide information, suggestions and insights,” to the customer, Livneh said.
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