Citi launches Facebook Messenger banking chatbot

Citi Singapore customers and employees here will get a first-hand look at the bank's new chatbot online. Citi Bot, as the service is called, works via Facebook Messenger and allows consumers to ask questions about their accounts, transactions or reward balances, among other things.

Mr Felimy Greene, customer franchise head for Citi Asia, said the service uses natural language processing, which helps create an intuitive experience close to human conversations. About 600 Citi customers and staff will test it before its commercial release, expected to be later in the year. A second phase will introduce features like card activation, the ability to lock and unlock credit cards and transaction alerts for cards.

Citi Singapore said yesterday: "Singapore is the first market for the launch of the chatbot, which will be introduced progressively in the Asia-Pacific region over the next few months."

Customers can register their interest by sending an SMS with the word BETA to 72484.

Citi joins financial institutions like DBS Bank, which released its POSB digibank Virtual Assistant chatbot on Facebook Messenger in January, and OCBC Bank's Emma chatbot.

Citibank Singapore CEO Han Kwee Juan said: "We are integrating ourselves into key ecosystems in order to engage customers where they are most digitally active. The Citi Bot is part of our continuous efforts to enhance the digital experience."

Facebook director and head of financial services partnerships, Ms Kahina Van Dyke, said 1.2 billion people use Messenger every month. "Banks, financial service and fintech firms are increasingly finding value in reaching their customers where they are already."

Rachael Boon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2017, with the headline 'Citi launches Facebook Messenger banking chatbot'. Print Edition | Subscribe