Ernest is the latest “chatbot” which merges artificial intelligence, natural language and your bank account data in order to provide an easy way to keep track of your money.
The inspiration behind Ernest is probably best explained by the developers of the chatbot:
We see a positive and powerful future where irrespective of time, technical proficiency or numeracy levels, all of us will be able to ask questions to our bank account and expect immediate and correct answers based on our financial status.
Once you’ve connected the app to your bank account (plus your partner’s if you want to include their data too), you can then get the bot to answer questions about your spending and balances via Facebook Messenger (initially, and other channels in the future). It’s one of 33,000 chatbots now available through Facebook Messenger. A chatbot with similar money/banklng features, Cleo, has been available for a few months.
For example, you can ask Ernest where you’ve spent the most month this month, and it will give you a breakdown of your spending by categoriy, or even a breakdown of spending by shop/restaurant etc.
Ernest will also learn your spending habits over time and will start to notify you of ways in which you could save money. You can also set savings goals and it will try to help you to meet these savings targets.
Ernest is a read-only application, so money can’t be moved by the app, and your bank login details aren’t stored. All the data they do store is kept within the EU. But as ever with these tools, if you’re not comfortable providing your online banking credentials to a third-party, then tools like this probably aren’t for you.
Access to Ernest is currently by invite-only, and you must register your interest by signing up here – using this link will help me to move up the queue to speed up my invite. Once you’re registered, you can do a similar thing with your own unique sign up link.
We’ll post more about Ernest when we get an active account.
- Cleo: Money Management Via Text & Facebook Messenger (January 25, 2017)
- Barclays To Sell On Customer Data (June 25, 2013)
- Barclays Launch “Money Tools” To Help Manage Your Money (June 13, 2013)
- Share Dealing on Facebook: A Glimpse Into The Future? (June 22, 2016)
- PayPal Launch PayPal.Me To Help Send & Receive Money (September 1, 2015)