RBS will employ an AI chat bot to handle online banking queries

"Luvo" is ready to help you replace your lost card.

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In response to recent moves by rivals to incorporate more technology in their customer operations, RBS has announced it's to deploy a new online virtual assistant to help deal with enquiries quicker. The bank says the AI, named "Luvo," was first tested among its 1,200 staff but will soon be used to help address common customer issues like lost debit and credit cards, locked PINs and how to order in a new card reader.

While RBS appears intent on reducing the amount of human interaction its customers have with staff, the company insists that Luvo's can trawl a vast database of information "in a split second" and respond with the right answer. If it can't, it'll forward the request to a real person who is more qualified to help.

"Luvo is unique in that a 'human' like personality has been created for it," RBS says in a statement. "Its unique psychological profile means it has a warmth to its personality, is approachable, creative and uses a combination of intuition and reasoning when answering questions." Although Luvo initially needs to be trained to understand subjects, RBS insists it will earn its AI stripes by "learning from its mistakes," which will make it "more accurate over time."

In the coming months, the bank will slowly introduce the chat bot to customers, but only via "small, voluntary, customer pilots." It's hoped Luvo will reduce the amount of time it takes to speak to an advisor by answering the easy questions and letting its human counterparts handle the more complex enquiries.