Supplied Money Charlotte Tregellis, 47, with son Fin Isherwood, 6
Supplied Money Charlotte Tregellis, 47, with son Fin Isherwood, 6

Robots to change how we bank

Australia's new breed of digital banks are introducing artificial intelligence to stop the inertia that costs consumers millions of dollars annually.

Big banks and other bill providers have earned big profits for many years from customers who don't examine their payments or search for better deals.

However, digital banks - also known as neobanks and smartbanks - are set to turn that strategy on its head by automatically finding savings and prompting customers to act.

Financial technology infrastructure provider Frankie Financial's CEO, Simon Costello, said consumers would benefit through artificial intelligence and "shiny new tech" providing automatic recommendations and switching.

Don’t be afraid of the rise of robot help in managing your bills and bank accounts.
Don’t be afraid of the rise of robot help in managing your bills and bank accounts.

"Neobanks will be able to spot your providers in your direct debits, let you know how much you would save if you switched providers and then offer a single-click switch," he said.

"This is very powerful functionality that has the potential to change the way consumers compare, select and change providers not just across the energy sector, but financial, insurance, and health sectors as well."

New digital players include Xinja, Volt, 86 400, Judo, Revolut and the Bendigo Bank-backed Up Bank.

Comparison technology is already being used by the New South Wales Government's EnergySwitch service.

Charlotte Tregellis, 47, used it and saved $380 after uploading her latest energy bill.

"I was told about the website by a friend when I complained about our latest electricity bill being so high," she said.

"I haven't switched providers for years but this was just so simple.

"The savings we make will help go towards a much needed family holiday."

Charlotte Tregellis, with son Fin, uploaded her energy bill and saved almost $400.
Charlotte Tregellis, with son Fin, uploaded her energy bill and saved almost $400.

Digital bank 86 400 was granted a full banking licence by regulator APRA last month, and CEO Rob Bell said its retail launch would take place gradually over the coming weeks.

Mr Bell said the term "artificial intelligence" scared a lot of people, but for digital banks it was simply about using customer's data to save them money.

"No-one is yet using data is a useful way to predict what might happen in the future," he said.

"We look at customers' history in terms of bills and will give them a prediction of what bills are coming up.

"Big banks think they own the data and it's predominantly used for marketing purposes.

"We want to help customers, not catch them out."

Mr Bell said 86 400 would also help people to make the most of savings accounts paying bonus interest, by using algorithms to remind them when key dates for those accounts were approaching.

@keanemoney


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