IndusInd Bank said its customers will soon be able to access basic banking services like checking balance, mini statement, checking reward points as well as update Aadhaar details via WhatsApp. According to a PTI report the bank has announced a pilot with WhatsApp enterprise solution for the same. While Medianama could not verify the details Whatsapp enterprise solution may be an expanded form of Whatsapp Business that is currently offered for free to small businesses.

The integration with WhatsApp will allow IndusInd Bank to start appearing as a Verified account when it communicates with its customers. The initial test phase will allow the bank to communicate important transaction alerts to the customers on WhatsApp. It also allows two-way communication with replies to customer messages and provides basic banking services (this does not include any financial transactions). The messaging service on WhatsApp is being rolled out to customers in phases; however, customers can save the official WhatsApp number of the bank and initiate conversation.

While the report doesn’t explicitly state this, the conversational interactions will probably be driven by an automated program or chatbot.

Whatsapp Business App

In January Whatsapp launched the ‘WhatsApp Business App’ that is built for small businesses who use the platform. We suspect the enterprise solution the chat company is offering is an expanded version of that service. The free app (free for now) helps companies connect with their customers and establish an official presence on WhatsApp. Business accounts will be able to set up automatic replies, see statistics about their messaging and set up a profile page with information like information such as address, business hours, and description of product or service offered within hours of operation.

A report on The Next Web had quoted a WhatsApp spokesperson saying, the current feature set will remain free in the long term, but WhatsApp plans on charging for additional capabilities in the future. The company is essentially aiming for a freemium model for small businesses. Though the company had indicated that it plans to charge big enterprises, a category that IndusInd bank falls into.

Chatbots in banking and finance

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

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.

In March 2017 YES Bank partnered with Payjo to launch the YES Pay Bot an AI-powered Facebook Messenger bot for the bank’s wallet service Yes Pay.

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.