Some of the US’ largest remittance companies and payment providers unveiled Facebook Messenger chatbots to coincide with the social media company’s F8 developer conference.
MasterCard, Wells Fargo, MoneyGram and Western Union all made announcements related to payment chatbots on Messenger within hours of Facebook revealing enhancements to the platform at its event earlier this week.
Chatbots are pieces of in-app software which can be used to ease the retail process by allowing a range of customer service queries and transactions to be made within app windows. Potential use cases include placing orders for products, responding to queries and performing domestic and international remittance.
Direct Person to person (P2P) payments have been available on Facebook Messenger in the US since 2015. This service was expanded in early April to include a facility to transfer funds between multiple parties within a chat group.
The launch of chatbots by finance companies increase the type and scope of transactions able to be performed within the Messenger app.
Some brands, including American Express and MasterCard, already had Facebook-compatible bots available, but the attention brought about during the developer conference appears to have led to a spate of new announcements.
This week’s launches include MoneyGram’s Sendbot and the Western Union Money Transfer bot, which both allow the performance and tracking of international remittance services within the Messenger chat window.
MasterCard expanded the number of its retail partners using its Messenger bot platform to include popular US retailers FreshDirect, Subway and The Cheesecake Factory.
Although not yet ready for commercial launch, Wells Fargo said it was testing its bot for banking customer services. It is initially being used by staff members, before being rolled-out to “a few thousand customers” in the coming months.