Artificial intelligence will impact all areas of our lives — including saving, investing and budgeting, experts say.
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Artificial intelligence is booming right now — and some analysts say it is most important topic for Big Tech this year.
New AI-based products and technologies are constantly emerging, and their influence will only increase from here, including in the financial world.
You might expect a chatbot response when you try to contact your bank online, or an automated response when you call them. But the impact of AI on money and investments is likely to be far broader, experts say.
“AI is revolutionizing and refining existing personal finance,” Bonnie Buchanan, professor of finance at the University of Surrey, told CNBC Make It. AI is already playing a role in everything from saving to retirement planning to budgeting to credit Scores and insurance to trade, she said.
Users often don’t even realize when AI is involved, adds Sarah Coles, head of personal finance at Hargreaves Lansdown.
“For example, AI is being used by banks to track spending and automatically notify people when they spend or reach a certain level in their account. They can also track whether expenses are typical and alert users to possible fraud.” She told CNBC Make It.
But that’s just the beginning, experts say.
One of the ways Coles sees the expansion of AI in personal finance is that it offers more targeted and specific financial planning support, for example.
“AI could be used to improve information targeting, so people only get the information they need, when they need it, making them more willing to engage,” she said, adding that this could help people make better financial decisions.
Kimberly Dillon, vice president of branding at AI-powered financial services app Cleo, also believes new money management tools could emerge.
“We’ll be able to understand and quickly adapt to the way people save and spend, then adapt tools to those behaviors and also better assess what financial services would benefit someone,” she told CNBC make it
Buchanan goes one step further. “Then, of course, there’s the evolving metaverse. Many banks and financial services providers are establishing a presence in the metaverse,” she said.
“In the not-too-distant future, humans could enter the metaverse using VR/AR (Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality) devices for their banking, insurance, and wealth management needs.”
These changes in money management could make finance more accessible and inclusive, and protect customers from financial harm, experts say.
“It offers an opportunity to significantly improve access to the help that people really need,” says Coles.
For example, it could help banks see if certain customers are often in debt or cash-strapped and offer advice on how to improve their situation before it spirals out of control, she suggested.
Dillon adds that AI-based technologies can also help create personalized budget plans to help people get out of such situations.
Convenience is also a big factor, Buchanan said. For example, chatbots can often perform basic financial interactions, and AI tools can set off alarm bells about suspected fraud, she explained.
But there are also risks – including data security, according to Buchanan.
“Big data is the foundation of many personal finance AI applications, but there are risks. What happens if your personal financial information is hacked or stolen?” she said, bringing up a risk factor that Coles is also concerned about. Sensitive information like this required careful protection, the latter added.
Another area that could be negatively impacted is financial literacy. “There’s a danger that people will over-rely on these tools without building a proper educational foundation,” Dillon said.
This can be dangerous as people may not know what is happening to their money or use products they don’t understand which then don’t work for them and their situation, the experts explain.
And even with AI, understanding your money is important, since a person’s financial situation is often “down to hundreds of micro-decisions that are made every day,” Dillon noted.
This includes understanding the role AI plays in money management, adds Buchanan. “I think now both financial literacy and digital literacy are necessary skills to have in an increasingly complex financial market,” she said.
Ultimately, therefore, a hybrid approach might be the safest solution, suggests Coles.
“The best solutions are to automate the things that can be automated, provide human support where it adds real value, and give people the information and support they need to make the best financial decisions possible.” , she concluded.