Plum, a London-based FinTech startup using AI-driven or “smart” chatbots to help people manage their finances, is betting that Facebook Messenger will become the go-to place for people to handle their money.
TechCrunch reports that with the social network expected to launch friend-to-friend payments in Europe soon, Plum’s Co-Founder, Victor Trokoudes, believes it will become a more popular place for people to also interact with their money. In fact, Plum has the first Facebook Messenger chatbot that enables users to easily start saving small amounts of money.
“With Facebook introducing payments into Messenger next year, Messenger is set to create a platform to further disrupt banks,” says Trokoudes. “Why use your banking app when you can pay your friends via the app and also add a service like Plum, which allows you to take control of all aspects of your financial life?”
The Messenger chatbot connects to your bank account, while Plum’s AI learns your spending habits, allowing it to automatically deposit small amounts of money into your Plum savings account every few days.
The company recently partnered with Ratesetter so that the Plum “micro” savings accounts can earn a 3 percent interest rate. While a typical bank’s current account usually earns no interest, the Ratesetter integration is an attempt to fix this and potentially turn the banking model on its head.
This is all part of Plum’s plan to rebundle financial services and put the user in control. And with competition from Cleo, Chip and Ernest, the company is expanding beyond savings and investment. Its chatbot will eventually be able to ensure that customers “don’t get ripped off on financial products,” such as loans, overdraft, utilities and insurance.
In addition, the chatbot will feature a “switch” service as early as next month so users can easily switch to a cheaper and greener energy provider.
“We are going to make you aware if you are being ripped off by your utility provider, your bank overdraft or overpaying on a loan, and then Plum will ask you if you would like to switch,” said Trokoudes. “All you will have to do is reply ‘Yes.’”
There are also rumors that Plum is teaming up with Habito to help users find a better deal on their current or future mortgage.