Artificial Intelligence has revolutionised Australia’s top banks and enhanced the customer experience from start to finish.

While this may seem like a recent trend, AI and banking have been linked for much longer than you may think. 

From data encryption that protects user’s privacy, to 24/7 chatbots that create ease and efficiency in digital banking, artificial intelligence has been advancing the services of Australia’s top banks for decades and will likely continue to play a pivotal role in the coming years. 

What Investment has There Been in AI?

The banking and finance sector has seen significant progress in development as a result of artificial intelligence, which continues to expand. 

The World Economic Forum recently estimated there will be at least USD $58 billion ($83.7b AUD) in global AI investment by 2021. 

Billions of online transactions occur globally irrespective of time and place, allowing users to be financially connected within minutes. Chatbots that are perpetually accessible for customer service and basic account needs have relieved the strenuous tasks that bankers have resented, all through AI advancements. 

Now, rather than having to physically visit a bank for withdrawals and transactions, users can have control of their finances and multiple accounts all through digital technology and be kept constantly up to date with their balances and fees. 

Account management, such as freezing misplaced bank cards and opening new savings accounts, has never been easier through AI in mobile banking apps. 

Are Australian banks embracing AI too?

While banking and finance is a part of everyone’s lives, Australia’s top banks are perennially competing in status and service, which artificial intelligence affords them the luxury of. 

Commonwealth, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ), National Australia Bank (NAB) and Westpac, have held the ranks of Australia’s top banks for decades. With the progression of digital technology and the accessibility of AI data, Australia’s top banks are able to continually update their services to accommodate for the needs of their customers and keep up with the changing landscape of digital technology. 

The main use of AI in the domain of mobile banking is the improvement and ease of customer service. 

In the past few years, Australia’s top banks have integrated AI technology to revolutionise the communication between users, banks and their services and personalise each individual’s experience. 

Using data intelligence, the top banks have formulated apps that are designed to track user behaviour and present insights on financial uses according to the trends and activity of that user. 

With similar apps in the financial industry, they can offer advice on savings, expenses, investments, interest rates and all financial queries based on accumulated data and analysis.” 

Using tailed mobile banking enriches customer service and fuels competition between Australia’s top banks as they reform customer services to stay at the top. 

Chatbots and Banks

In January 2018, Commonwealth Bank incorporated a new chatbot technology using AI to assist customers with more than 200 banking tasks. The technology known as chatbot ceba uses AI for common banking tasks such as card activation, checking account balances, payments and cardless cash and is available 24/7 for use of these services. Chatbot ceba is also able to assess users spending habits to tell customers their monetary patterns and advise on better saving techniques. 

According to the financial experts at Max Funding, “85% of banks will perform customer engagement with the help of chatbots by 2020. The advancements now are paving the way for a seamless management of customer needs, creating an efficient and simple approach that should benefit consumers in the long run.”

Aside from adding ease and efficiency to the landscape of digital banking, AI innovation has allowed for data collection and information storage so that users can access their bank details and finances from any place in the world, without having to keep all information stored on them. 

Similar to Commonwealth’s 24/7 chatbot, in October 2018 NAB collaborated with Microsoft to design an automatic teller machine (ATM) that uses cloud and AI technology to improve the customer service experience for bankers. The technology is looking at using facial recognition in place of an ATM pin so that users can opt for cardless cash transactions.  

According to loan specialists Maxiron Capital, AI has already begun to change traditional approaches to lending, with the banking industry set to experience similar disruptions, saying “just as AI has reduced the amount of time banks spend processing loans, AI will help reduce the time spent by banking customers looking for fast solutions. This reduction in friction could be extremely beneficial for banks going forward.”

As another one of Australia’s top banks, ANZ has incorporated artificial intelligence technology into its digital performance. It has worked on AI research that has traditionally been used for machinery and heavy lifting, and incorporated the technology into the banking sector to personalise the customer experience and work closer with cognitive assistance technology rather than muscle memory. 

Along with the four other big banks, Westpac has been integrating artificial intelligence and data programs into its operations in hopes to improve customer service. 

Westpac chief information officer Dave Curran said the technology dramatically speeds up developments within the banking industry, but acknowledges that while the technology is powerful, there is still a long way to go to make sure the entire banking sector is protected by artificial intelligence from cyber criminals and money laundering, saying:

“There’s not a meeting I go to these days where AI, data, big data, analytics doesn’t come up in conversation. When we can get good at it, that changes the whole dynamic in terms of how we serve customers.”