It hardly needs to be said that AI – or artificial intelligence – has graduated from the realm of Hollywood fantasy to real-world practicality. I’d wager that many readers are within earshot of an Amazon Echo speaker, for instance. Intelligent software solutions that pay attention to your patterns of spending, earning and saving are helping many people get more directly in touch with their financial health while taking away some of the stress that may come with having to handle their money either directly or through an advisor.
I can help you do that, Dave
Some of the simplest and most practical AI finance products are aimed at people who need to improve their saving habits (and honestly, who doesn’t?) Apps like Cleo, Plum, Chip, Digit and Foleo are all designed to track your spending and automatically save small amounts depending on how much money you have going out, and how much is coming in. Some of these apps (for now, Chip is one of them) allow you to accrue interest on these savings, too. Others will default to helping you direct money to currently owed debts, and prevent you from saving if you have any outstanding overdrafts. All in all, they’re valuable tools to help keep busy, forgetful, or disconnected savers continue making strides financially.
Artificial intelligence has been very useful to banks and lenders in loan underwriting and other aspects of loan processing and monitoring. Recently, there’s been an increase in the development of AI-based platforms that help customers manage their debts. This category includes apps like Credit Karma, which give you access to your credit information so you can see the impact of changes in real time. These apps are designed to offer users the best possible match for loan products that suit their immediate financial needs, and adapt to as those needs change (say, as consumers begin to pay off debt and wish to shift their goals from reducing their outstanding balance to reducing their interest payments.) Companies like Progressa, can help you pay off debt and build your credit with ease.
Bringing the Bank to You
Most major banks have companion apps that let you do things like transfer money, pay bills and use your cards digitally. However, AI-powered financial technology is taking things a step further. Researchers understand that people often need more than just tools: they need to connect with someone and talk through their problems. This means going to speak to a teller, advisor or other branch personnel in the majority of cases. AI development is now able to give users the option of talking to a virtual assistant or chatbot that has been trained to understand and respond to questions with the critical eye and helpful demeanour of a real human. It’s Siri for your bank.
Once you have sorted out your personal finances to a point where you’re stable and debt-free, your next big goal should be growing your wealth. Many people choose to invest their money to accomplish this goal, and there are a growing number of AI-powered tools that can now help with this complex decision-making process as well. These range from simple, low-impact tools like Mylo, which rounds up your purchases to the nearest increment of your choice and invests the remainder, to apps such as Stash, which opens up the possibility of investing with smaller amounts of capital and lower the cost of trading. Many of these apps can be tailored specifically to your needs, especially the amount of risk you are willing to tolerate as you build a portfolio. And, when your needs get more complex, you can often connect with a human advisor to make sure you’re headed down the right path.
In short, AI might not be serving you breakfast or driving your car (yet…) but it’s living in your digital ecosystem every day, especially in financial terms. It’s up to you to decide which tools make the most sense to add to your personal finance toolbox, but many of them can take the guesswork and stress out of managing your money.