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Five financial innovations you may have missed

I just attended an EFMA conference where the opening presentation talked about the most innovative banks in the world. They may or may not be, you can decide, as I’m posting some of their stories here.  These are the ones I quite liked, so it’s not exhaustive. See what you think …

Capital One Skill for Alexa

Capital One’s skill for Alexa provides a new feature called “How much did I spend?” Using any Amazon Alexa-enabled device, Capital One customers can now summon Alexa for their recent spending history at more than 2,000 popular merchants including Starbucks, Whole Foods and Amazon.  Customers who have enabled the Capital One skill can ask Alexa about their spending for the past six months–by day, month, or a specific date range–through questions posed in natural language.

Robot “Pepper” from Mizuho Bank

Early last year,  IBM researchers developed new technologies for Mizuho Bank’s Robotics platform, tapping into Watson’s natural language and other cognitive capabilities to facilitate smoother human-to-robot interaction and to enable collaboration between two or more robots. Here’s the result:

Dronn Agent from Alior Bank

Dronn is an intelligent virtual agent designed to communicate with customers verbally and guide them through a personalised conversation in a set of carefully selected use cases.  The natural language interfaces combine artificial intelligence and voice recognition to provide an exceptional customer experience.

Penny, the New Mint

Penny personal finance bot

Penny is an app that examines behaviour around your bank accounts and credit cards to alert you of any issues, such as data breaches. The company looks to rival Mint.com in terms of functionality, but is going after the average person who feels bored or stressed when dealing with their finances.

Spun out of a hackathon, this Y Combinator-backed company provides a bot-like interface that will provide insights around your income and spending. You can link your credit cards, bank accounts (more than 10,000 institutions are supported), or even Venmo or PayPal into this app, which is available on iOS and Android. Afterwards, Penny will tell you how much money you spent eating out, recent fees you were charged, a summary of your spending in the past week or month, and upcoming bill payments.

KBC’s Digital Trade Chain

KBC’s Digital Trade Chain application is a digital platform for managing, tracking and protecting domestic and international trade transactions using a shared ledger. Using the application simplifies trade finance for SMEs as the DTC links all parties – buyer, seller and the banks of both trade parties – to each other. The application provides follow up for the entire trade process from order to payment, with all trade events registered by the parties on the blockchain and the final payment by the buyer against receipt of goods (the ultimate goal of each trade) automatically processed by the execution of a smart contract.

About Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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