Banking With A Chatbot: A Battle Between Convenience and Security
Kate Letheren, Paula Dootson, 11 Aug 17
       

Does more convenience mean less security? Shutterstock

Soon, you will be able to check your bank balance or transfer money through Facebook Messenger and Twitter as banks experiment with chatbots. Companies like Ikea have used customer service chatbots for close to a decade. But their use in financial services represents a new tension - do we want convenience or a feeling of security from our banks?

Research shows that when it comes to online banking, customers are prepared to trade security for convenience. But when customers think there is a threat to their security, this feeling reverses.

Researchers at QUT recently found that a sense of insecurity is one of the reasons consumers do not already interact with financial institutions on social media. And the feeling of insecurity actually increased between 2010 and 2014, as social media became more popular.

This means banks will likely have to design their chatbots to give a sense of security, just like they do with bank branches.

The trade-off between the convenience and security of a service comes down to trust. Trust in the service provider to protect our personal details (“soft trust”) and trust in the platform and infrastructure you use to access the service (“hard trust”). Both types of trust are important to ensure a sense of balance.

For instance, it’s of little use having an impregnable vault if consumers don’t trust the person with the key. Likewise, trusting a staff member is of little value if consumers can see there are safety flaws in the system. Consumers need to know that their trust (both hard and soft) is well placed before they can enjoy the added convenience of emerging technologies.

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