Singapore’s POSB launches AI-driven chatbot on Facebook messenger

The chatbot can answer questions about the bank’s products and services, such as foreign exchange rates, in real time.

By Nurdianah Md Nur
Jan. 19, 2017

POSB Virtual assistant

Customers of POSB — a bank in Singapore that is part of the DBS Group — can now enquire about the bank's products and services through an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven chatbot on Facebook Messenger.

The chatbot, called the POSB digibank Virtual Assistant,  is based on US-based Kansisto's conversational AI platform that powers it with deep banking knowledge. 

To access the round-the-clock service, customers can simply visit the POSB Facebook page and go directly to Facebook Messenger.     

POSB said that the chatbot has promptly answered all enquiries without re-routing customers to the bank's customer service centre since its launch last Friday (13 January). Most of the questions were on branch locations and foreign exchange rates.

POSB first announced its plans for customers to use natural language to converse with it from a social messaging app in August 2016.

The bank has spent over 11,000 man hours training the POSB digibank Virtual Assistant virtual assistant since last September. Actual questions and responses taken from the bank's customer centre were used in the training.

POSB also set up an annotation team to ensure that responses are kept valid and succinct, and most importantly, be able to meet customer needs.

Given the chatbot's learning abilities, it will be able to respond more accurately to customer enquiries over time.

The bank plans to enable customers to conduct banking transactions — such as balance enquiries, fund transfers and card payments — via the POSB digibank Virtual Assistant by the second quarter of this year.

Chat banking will also be launched in DBS' other key markets, with plans to extend this service to other mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp and WeChat in the future.     

"We know that our customers are spending time conversing on their favourite mobile messaging apps, and we are immersing ourselves in the customer journey by making it easier and more convenient for them to engage us. With POSB digibank Virtual Assistant, customers can converse with us as easily as they would with their contacts — no more calls and no more waiting in line just to get a response," said Jeremy Soo, Head of Consumer Banking Group (Singapore), DBS Bank. 

According to the bank, POSB/DBS has more than 2.5 million online banking and 1.4 million mobile banking in Singapore. These customers account for more than 1.2 million transactions daily across the banks' digital platforms.