- Product Prompts
- AI Audit: Monzo
AI Audit: Monzo
Natural Language Banking
Hey there 👋
This is the first in a series of weekly AI Audits, where I step into the shoes of a tech product team and analyse potential opportunities for adding AI to their roadmap.
This week’s AI Audit is on UK challenger bank Monzo.
What you’ll learn:
An explorative overview of Monzo’s current product strategy (we use this to determine the kind of AI features which would align)
7 ideas for incorporating generative AI into their app
2 AI feature deep-dives
The riskiest assumptions to be tested
Note: descriptions of Monzo’s product strategy and potential AI features are purely based on my personal inferred views based on publicly available information.
🗺️ Product strategy
Their product mission is to "make money work for everyone". Monzo aims to democratise finance and make banking accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial background. They believes that banking should be transparent and easy to use, and that it should help people make the most of their money.
Environmental impact; they’re branchless, digital, and don’t invest in fossil fuel based energy companies.
Improve gambling protections; in 2018 they launched a feature that allows our customers to block gambling transactions. It was the first of its kind, offering a friction-based banking tool to help people with gambling addiction to self exclude.
Focus on mental health support; they’ve worked with the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute to improve accessibility for customers with mental health problems, by becoming the first bank to take part in its Mental Health Accessible Lite programme.
Some of the key elements of Monzo's product strategy include:
User-Centric Design: Monzo's design approach is centred around the needs of its users. The company's product teams and designers work closely with customers to understand their needs and build products that meet those needs.
Transparency: Monzo is committed to being transparent with its customers about how their money is being used. The company provides detailed information about fees, interest rates, and other charges, so customers can make informed decisions.
Accessibility: They aim to make banking accessible to everyone. The mobile app is easy to use and understand, and it also provides a range of tools and features that help customers manage their money.
Innovation: Monzo is constantly innovating and introducing new features to its platform. For example, the company recently launched a feature that allows customers to buy and sell cryptocurrency directly from their Monzo account.
Integration: They’re working to integrate with other financial products and services to create a seamless banking experience for its customers. For example, the company partnered with Wise to offer international money transfers at a low cost.
Based on Monzo’s published Product Principles for their internal product (i.e. the platform used by their Customer Support team), we see that they optimise their development process for learning and for prototyping. They focus on building the simplest thing to get the job done, generating enough data and knowledge to take better decisions further ahead. They boost learnings with MVPs, which to their team stands for Minimum Viable Prototype.
Recent product updates
In December 2022, Monzo launched “a better way to budget” where you can set a monthly spend goal and track how you’re doing with targets.
In August 2022 they launched a line graph to see how your balance is trending, with the view of helping people with the Job To Be Done of not feeling short at the end of the month.
💡 AI brainstorm
Some ideas for incorporating generative AI with OpenAI’s GPT-3 API that are aligned with Monzo’s product strategy:
Natural language banking: use generative AI to reduce friction around money-related questions, with answers personalised to the customer
A chatbot that can provide personalised financial advice and tips to customers based on their spending habits and goals;
A feature that can generate realistic travel scenarios and budgets for customers who want to plan their trips abroad;
An interactive tool that can create customised savings plans and incentives for customers who want to achieve their financial targets;
Some moonshot AI ideas 🤪
A feature that can generate virtual reality experiences for customers who want to explore different destinations or cultures
A service that can generate alternative scenarios and outcomes for customers who want to evaluate upcoming financial decisions
A feature that can generate holographic agents for customers who want to interact with Monzo in a more immersive way
💬 AI feature deep-dive #1: Natural Language Banking
Monzo could be a pioneer of Natural Language Banking.
This would enable customers to interact with their bank accounts and services using natural language. This means that customers can use voice or text commands to perform various banking tasks, such as checking their balance, transferring money, paying bills, setting up alerts, etc.
If applied to Monzo’s banking app, natural language banking could mean:
Customers can use voice or text commands to access and control their Monzo app features
Customers can ask questions or request information from Monzo using natural language
Customers can receive natural language summaries and explanations of their transactions and spending patterns
Customers can get natural language suggestions and tips on how to save money or achieve their financial goals
Customers can have natural language conversations with Monzo’s chatbot or customer support agents
Natural language banking could make Monzo’s app more user-friendly, convenient, engaging, and personalised for its customers. It could also help Monzo differentiate itself from other banks and fintech companies by offering a unique and innovative way of banking.
Customers will be comfortable using natural language banking over traditional digital banking methods;
Customers will trust and understand the natural language responses and feedback from Monzo;
Customers will be comfortable and confident in using voice or text commands for their banking tasks;
Monzo will be able to provide accurate, reliable, and secure natural language banking services;
Monzo will be able to comply with legal and ethical regulations and standards with natural language banking.
💳 AI feature deep-dive #2: Financial adviser / explainer
Many personal financial tools are designed to help you monitor your spending and adhere to a budget - Monzo being one of them. But at crucial moments—decision points — they never seem to be of any use! Whether it’s for a significant purchase, or working out taxes, or finding insurance, I always wind up spending a lot of time on Google and occasionally consulting a friend or an official source of information.
There could be proactive suggestions as well as 24/7 on-demand advice for financial decisions.
In practice, the bank would need to combine customer banking information with a general understanding of finance to generate practical advice like "consider moving to this credit card" or "you might want to create a Limited Company for your freelance job".
The techy explanation of how this would be done is to use carefully designed embeddings within the model, whereby documents such as the Customer Support or Advisory team would be embedded within a prompt, so that fact-based answers are given. (We’ll explore applying embeddings in more detail in an upcoming daily email.)
Accuracy is the greatest problem because it would be costly to act on one poor suggestion, and that would be a PR disaster. Monzo would have to start out by sticking to recommendations that are lower risk. Additionally, I think you could prevent making high-risk suggestions by using strategies like RLHF (reinforcement learning from human feedback) when training the model.
Trust is a big question again. It will take some very transparent UX to reassure people of the answers given. But if anyone can pull that off, Monzo can 🙂 If we look at mental health as a related topic to financial health, then it does appear that people are eagerly consulting ChatGPT for advice in this area.
📚 Related reads
ChatGPT Is A Window Into The Real Future Of Financial Services - link.
How AI Will Help Put A (Human) Financial Advisor In Your Pocket - link.
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Thanks for reading, and happy prompting!