Need to Know
- Bank of America’s virtual assistant Erica has surpassed 10 million users after just 18 months.
- Erica has also now completed over 100 million client requests.
- Financial voice assistants can be used to handle all of the transactions a consumer would accomplish in a physical branch.
Since launching in June 2018, Erica—Bank of America’s version of Siri or Alexa—has accumulated more than 10 million users and has completed 100 million client requests, establishing itself as the central focus of the bank’s digital strategy going forward. Although it can be difficult to receive accurate figures, Erica is reported to be the most-used banking chatbot in the world.
“When the very first ATM came out, it took years for people to really start using them at a massive scale,” says David Tyrie, Bank of America’s head of advanced solutions and digital banking. “And the reason is because it takes time to trust new technology.”
Erica can essentially handle all of the transactions a person would do in a physical branch or online, providing added convenience for the technically-inclined and reducing wait times for those who prefer to visit a branch in-person.
The mobile app itself can be configured to a person’s individual preferences based on the way they use and interact with the app.
But what makes Erica really stand out is that it can also “speak up” when there’s a duplicate credit card charge or a recurring charge that is higher than usual. If someone loses a card and gets a new one, Erica will proactively list the places where the card needs to be updated.
Bank of America isn’t the first to introduce a virtual assistant, but it may be the most advanced one out there. Earlier this year, Capital One launched a text-based chat assistant called Eno that can “learn” customer behavior and adapt to user needs. Eno can provide information about account balance, transaction history, and credit limit all through instant messaging.
New York’s Ally Bank introduced their virtual chat assistant, Ally Assist, in 2015. This assistant responds to voice or text to make payments, transfers, and deposits, among other tasks. It also uses machine learning to predict customer needs and address customer service concerns.