We rarely go to the bank anymore. Our main interaction with these money-tending edifices is through the tiny money-spitting mouths of ATMs. But we miss the human interaction.
It's unlikely we'll ever get that same-level of human-banker contact back, but at least Capital One is giving us a banking chat bot, the first, they claim, SMS-based one in the U.S.
And it can speak emoji.
The bank unveiled its new mobile technology, called Eno, at SXSW in Austin, Texas, on Friday. And yes, “Eno” is “One” spelled backwards. Clever bird, that Capital One.
Capital One’s chat bot is not about casual, meme-filled conversation. It's also not app based. It will, using natural language processing, respond to your various SMS-text-based banking needs, including checking on account balances, recent transactions, when your next credit card bill is due, credit limits and history and even that impossible-to-remember bank routing number.
Image: capital one
Image: capital one
You’ll also be able to make payments and, here’s where the fun comes in, converse in emoji. When Eno tells you that have $25 in your savings account, you can send a sarcastic thumbs up emoji and Eno will get you. The chat bot can also understand a cash bag emoji. Send one and you get a broader summary of your accounts. We can't wait for when Eno can send us a money bag emoji to indicate that we’re flush with cash (and hopefully not that you’ve over-drawn and owe the bank a bag full of money).
Eno, which is free, opens to a limited number of Capital One customers starting Friday.
Mashable caught up with Capital One’s VP of Digital Product Development, Ken Dodelin, on email to get some additional insight on Eno.
What happens if you ask Eno about something other than banking?
Eno isn’t all work and no play. When prompted, it can also have some fun with users. Among other things, Eno can tell you what it looks like, what’s in its wallet and even share the meaning of life (or at least Eno’s take on it)!
For example, if you ask, "What’s In Your Wallet?"
Eno will respond with, "I don’t have a wallet, but if I did, it would just have pictures of cats."
Were names other than Eno considered?
We chose Eno because it's ‘one’ (as in Capital One) spelled backwards; we also like that when we Google’d “Eno definition” the meaning returned was “awesome, cool.” We were also looking for a gender-neutral name with human-like qualities. It was important to us to give our AI a name that is consistent with Capital One's mission of bringing humanity to banking. In terms of other names, our name is Capital One, so we thought it made sense to have a little fun with at least one part of it.
Whose technology backs the natural-language processing?
That’s not something we’re disclosing at this time.
How many of Capital One customers expressed an interest in doing banking via smartphone? How about via SMS?
In a funny way, we launched a chatbot long ago – we just didn’t know it. You see, Capital One has an SMS alert that very clearly asks customers to text back one of two specific words: confirm or deny. It’s that simple, and we don’t understand much else. And yet, a surprisingly high number of responses from customers include something other than those two words. We get questions, explanations, emojis – you name it. Eno 1.0 is our first step toward fulfilling this customer need to engage with us in text conversations about money.