Axis Direct, the stockbroking and financial services subsidiary of Axis Bank has launched a WhatsApp-based virtual assistant which provides personalised market information to customers.

The feature provides personalised alerts, research ideas and market updates via WhatsApp powered by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) based bot that can fetch live portfolio values, stock quotes, index or even answer investor queries on chat.

To subscribe, users can click on a link sent via text or email message following which will take them to a WhatsApp conversation window with the Axis Direct number. The user can then add the number to his/her contacts and send “Start AxisDirect” to that contact. Following this, users will start getting alerts. While anyone can subscribe to and use the chatbot, Axis Direct customers will get additional features like live portfolio, order placement and personalised alerts results based on their portfolio.*

Chatbots in banking and finance

In January 2017, HDFC tied-up with Niki.ai to launch a chatbot called OnChat on Facebook’s Messenger platform, that allowed users to recharge phones, pay utility bills, book cabs from Ola or Uber etc., through a chat. The chatbot was available to non-HDFC bank users as well.

Also in January 2017 YES Bank launched a chatbot on Facebook Messenger. Unlike HDFC, however, rather than payments, YES Banks chatbot lets users chat about loan products. The bank partnered with Gupshup for providing this solution.

The Yes bank product was designed for its employees that work with customers directly. The company had said that the initiative would allow its employees to provide details on any loan products without having to memorize the features, pricing, eligibility criteria etc. and that the chatbot made it easier to train the bank’s sales staff.

In June 2016, Reliance Securities, the brokerage and distribution arm of Reliance Capital, launched TICK Pro for options trading which will use bots to track markets in real-time to identify trends and choose an investment strategy.

*An earlier version of the copy said that the service is only accessible to customers, that has been corrected.