On June 13th, Apple announced it’s opening the iMessage API for 3rd parties to build upon. Apple’s aim: “tap into the creativity of all developers.”
This trend of opening up APIs for third parties isn’t a new idea. We’ve written about it several times (The Power of Open APIs). You can find an open API for YouTube and Google Maps, and Dwolla has an open API too.
So why are we talking about open APIs and iMessage? How does this relate to artificial intelligence and fintech?
Meet, Abe. Abe is a bot that you can chat with about your personal finances. Think of Abe as your friendly, chattable, financial helper. Honest Abe will help you understand if you can actually afford something, check in on previous spending habits, keep tabs on your bills, and let you know if you’re at risk of overdrafting an account. Just chat Abe, and he’ll do the leg work and deliver a fast answer.
This “Abe-like” concept is relatively new—using artificial intelligence and machine learning to help make very human decisions and interactions even easier.
To a fintech company, bots and AI have the potential to drastically change how people engage with their finances. With bots like Abe, financial decisions become smarter and more informed. Banking and financial management go from annoying, impersonal spreadsheets to personal, engaging recommendations.
“Managing and planning how you spend money is a stressful chore, which many people just ignore doing. We’re focused on making the financial decisioning process as simple and contextualized as possible. Banks are quite happy to hold your money, but aren’t nearly as enthusiastic about helping you make real-time decisions which boost your long-term financial health and resilience. So we built Abe to automate and optimize a person’s financial life.”
Keith Armstrong, Co-founder & COO
In a post from CitiBank’s Managing Director, he affirms this notion that better customer service and banking relationships are where AI will sing for fintech. Let a chatbot help you budget and understand your spending so you have time to focus on other things, whether that’s clearing your mind to write or building your own new piece of tech.
Back to iMessage…by opening up the iMessage API for 3rd party developers, Apple has opened a new, highly-frequented platform to allow for interaction with chatbots.
Currently, Abe is only available through Slack. Abe will soon be accessible across other messaging platforms with customized language, including text and iMessage. By day, send a message to your friend to congratulate them on a new job, and by night, text Abe to see how much you can actually afford to spend on celebratory drinks.
“We imagine a future where Abe—this intelligent agent—runs your entire financial life. You can reach him via SMS, Slack, Alexa, Messenger, etc. Any of the tools you already use on a day-to-day basis.
We want Abe to help people be better with their money. For some this means curbing mindless spending, automating small daily savings, suggesting an amount to pay towards a credit card bill or student loan, or a range of other real-time recommendations which boost financial health. By using a mix of AI and qualitative user input, Abe learns a person’s financial standing and circumstance, either nudging them to make the ‘right’ financial decision or automating the decision making process outright.”
Rob Guilfoyle, Co-founder & CEO
Abe is live and available now, delivering the power of financial knowledge and artificial intelligence through Slack. With Dwolla’s ACH API as its backbone, Abe will deliver even more functionality to its users come late August—you’ll be able to transfer from one bank account to another, be it checking to savings or from one bank to another institution—further iterating upon the value add.
From our perspective at Dwolla, it’s all coming up roses. Open APIs are working hand-in-hand to deliver a better experience to users, empowering everyone to do better—whether you’re like Abe and building a better chatbot, Apple opening up in order to provide more functionality within iMessage, or a personal user learning to make better financial decisions.
Curious how Dwolla can help you access the ACH network? Reach out to an integration specialist below.
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