Mastercard Built A Payment Chatbot To Assist Their Wearable Platform
The AI is meant to address new consumer expectations around transactions and to help merchants and banks keep up
Banks, large and small, offer multi-faceted mobile apps for their services, making it easy to access information wherever they go. But this style of banking isn’t good enough anymore to appease the masses who are hungry for technology. As a result, Mastercard is introducing some new methods to make their services more mobile and multichannel retail oriented. The first initiative they’re starting is that of chatbots for banks and merchants. A chatbot is a computer program that’s meant to simulate conversion with human users. It’s often used in customer service programs to reduce wait times and streamline communications.
“Chatbots or messaging interfaces have captured a lot of consumer attention,” said James Anderson, group executive of platforms and emerging payments at Mastercard. “It’s a huge paradigm shift for mobile commerce and a lot of people are interested in how to leverage this new approach to commerce.”
With their new chatbot system, which is expected to debut in March of 2017, consumers will be able to more efficiently communicate with their banks in any of their financial transactions or communications.
The chatbot system in question will be known as Mastercard KAI, or KAI for short. It will be operated by a company called Kasisto who will handle the backend of things.
It will be available to both banks and merchants. On banking apps, KAI will be useful in showing transaction histories, viewing account balances, setting spending limits, monitoring spending, and applying other banking features common to banking applications.
When used by merchants, KAI will be available for customers to make payments directly through the app. There will also be price comparison features and answers to basic questions.
The second new and exciting feature to join Mastercard’s technological arsenal is wearable payments. This is a fairly new feature for any smart-connected device, and the fact that Mastercard is getting involved means big things for the credit card company.
“Payment used to be a thing that you went and did,” Anderson said. “You went to a store or you went to a website. People don’t want go somewhere. They want this stream of commerce they can dip into and dip out. The message service is the best place for that. It’s the next big interface for commerce.”
To make this possible, Mastercard is partnering with FitPay, which is a platform dedicated to making payment capabilities possible on wearable devices. The ultimate goal for both FitPay and Mastercard is to make contactless payments possible for all wearable devices.
The primary device Mastercard and Fitpay are working with is the Wearatec. This is a typical smartwatch that offers smartphone integration, fitness tracking, internet connection, and more. Through Wearatec, consumers can enter Mastercard information to pay for services and products.
This will work very similarly to other contactless payment forms from Mastercard. It’s entirely secure and will be categorized properly in transactions. Users need not be concerned about lost numbers and transactions because it uses the same security features as regular credit cards.
The goal is to have wearable payments on the market by 2017 to 2.5 million devices. They predict that this particular payments system will grow quickly, resulting in more than 9 million payment capabilities by the end of 2018.