Digital Banking

Banks To AI: Less Artificial And More Human

The banking world is racing to get smarter via artificial intelligence (AI), but how can intelligence that’s artificial stack up to human expertise and the demands of human consumers? 

To tackle this issue, companies are looking to infuse AI with a bit of humanity, help consumers better connect with computer-operated services and offer improved insights.

In the February edition of the Digital Banking Tracker™, a Feedzai Collaboration, PYMNTS explores the latest developments surrounding AI and machine learning in the financial services space.

Around the Digital Banking world

Can AI help consumers become smarter spenders? Several industry players seem to think so.

For example, Amazon, Westpac and National Australia Bank are teaming up to bring voice-activated AI to Australian banking customers. The trio recently announced that Australian customers who own an Amazon Echo smart speaker would be able to check on personal finances using voice technology, and all via the creation of banking skills for Amazon’s Alexa AI software.

Meanwhile, Emma Technologies LTD has celebrated an AI milestone. The London-based FinTech firm — which uses AI and machine learning to help young consumers avoid overdrafts, cancel unwanted or unused subscriptions and increase savings — was recently approved and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under the Payment Services Regulations 2017 for the provision of payment services. With the approval in place, the company is now able to fully operate in the PSD2 scheme.

As newer FinTechs increasingly rely on AI and machine learning to shape and provide support to products, it’s not surprising that more traditional financial institutions (FIs) are feeling the heat and, as a result, also feeling compelled to quickly adopt the new technology.

According to a new survey from cybersecurity solutions company EY, banks consider new FinTech software providers and their AI-powered solutions to be their fiercest competition. EY analysts noted market pressures from FinTech rivals has created a climate in which innovation reigns, forcing banks to design new solutions to retain customers and prevent bank switching.

To read the rest of the latest headlines from around the digital banking industry, check out the Tracker’s News and Trends section.

Ally seeks to humanize conversational tech

Customers must be able to easily and efficiently communicate with their voice-based AI if digital banking players want such solutions to make an impact, but many banking customers struggle to connect when interacting. 

To better serve these customers, Ally Bank is currently working to find the balance between introducing virtual assistant technology into its banking operations and maintaining a personal experience for customers, said Arvy Rajasekaran, chief information officer of digital channel technologies. In a recent interview for this month’s Digital Banking Tracker feature story, Rajasekaran told PYMNTS Ally is working to make interactions with both human employees and AI feel like one and the same.

“The number one goal is to make sure we don’t put a capability out there that doesn’t fit the brand of Ally, that doesn’t feel human,” he said.

To read the full story, along with rankings of more than 300 players in the Digital Banking space, check out the latest edition of the Tracker.

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About the Tracker

The Digital Banking Tracker™ brings you the latest news, research and expert commentary from the FinTech and consumer banking space, along with rankings of more than 300 companies serving or powering the digital banking sector.



The September 2020 Leveraging The Digital Banking Shift Study, PYMNTS examines consumers’ growing use of online and mobile tools to open and manage accounts as well as the factors that are paramount in building and maintaining trust in the current economic environment. The report is based on a survey of nearly 2,200 account-holding U.S. consumers.