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Capital One unveils chatbot that loves emojis

Taylor Tompkins

Capital One is hoping its new chatbot can help you with everyday banking and credit questions – and maybe even get you out of a financial jam – all by using emojis.

The company unveiled its first chatbot Friday, the opening day of South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas.

According to a TV commercial for the artificially intelligent, gender-neutral Eno, help is just a simple 💰 emoji away. Just sending a couple of emojis to the chatbot could make a big difference if you’re held for ransom or just anxious late some night about your credit card’s due date.

In more everyday circumstances, Eno can tell customers about their balances, recent transactions, due dates and perform functions related to Capital One credit cards and accounts.

Unlike automated text-to-bank functions, customers can ask Eno questions or request information in their natural texting language. And that, of course, includes the emoji.

The inclusion of emojis was a no-brainer for Capital One, said Ken Dodelin, vice president of digital product development for Capital One.

“I don’t see how we could go into this platform and not understand key ways people communicate on it,” Dodelin said.

Eno can’t process all emojis but can understand that the little bag of money means customers want a summary of their accounts and the thumbs up is a confirmation.

The chatbot was born out of an old two-way alert feature Capital One used with their customers, he said.

“Long ago we launched a chatbot, we just didn’t know it,” Dodelin said.

People would ask the automated text system questions or tell it to perform tasks it wasn’t able to process. Since people were already trying to interact with Capital One this way, they decided to develop technology to catch up with the need, he said.

Eno is only available to a limited number of Capital One card and account holders now, but those antsy to try out the new artificial intelligence technology can sign up to be on the waitlist on the bank’s site.

Soon, other chatbots will help you with your cards and banking. For example, Mastercard’s KAI will be able to talk to cardholders via Facebook messenger sometime in 2017, and Bank of America’s Erica, a personal financial consultant via voice or text, is expected to debut near the end of this year.

The push toward chatbots allows customers more flexibility with their financial questions, Capital One said in a statement about Eno. The company says it hopes Eno will help “customers manage their money, wherever they are.”

Including the trunk of a car.

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