FinTech Apps are Leading the Pack in AI and Chat Interfaces

December 19, 2016 - 2 minutes read

Bots were the hot app development trend of 2016, but they haven’t proved to have much mainstream staying power across all app categories. One place they have, however, is FinTech — where San Francisco app developers have found a tech-friendly market of millennial users growing more interested in mobile money-management solutions.

While mobile banking concepts like Simple paved the way for mobile-centric FinTech products, startups like Mint and Digit have continued to push the boundaries of what an app can be, and how it can interact with users. Digit in particular turned heads in Silicon Valley when they launched a FinTech product with no traditional app at all, instead opting to communicate and interact with users via SMS. While risky, this turned out to be perfect for users who use an average of 4–5 apps to manage their money. Why add another app when a few quick text messages will suffice?

Varo Money, the latest mobile banking solution gathering steam in Silicon Valley, is poised to combine and build on all these concepts in a compelling way. Customers control their account via messaging, similar to Digit, but with a radically expanded pool of commands and options. Screenshots from beta users show question-and-answer sequences like “how much have I spent on restaurants this month” and “when is my phone bill due?”, with tailored responses and actions offered up as a result. (The official launch is slated for 2017, and those interested in beta-testing can sign up via the Val Money site.)

While some might find the use of emojis and messaging bubbles to manage finances a bit cutesy, it’s an idea that has been performing well with younger users. Even FinTech app developers coming from a more straight-laced perspective can appreciate how housing a variety of financial services under one app umbrella will reduce friction and make life easier for users.

One thing’s for certain: AI and chat interfaces will continue to trend up in 2017, and FinTech app developers will be the ones leading that charge.

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