Financial Security – is it time to let AI take the reins?

The financial sector is an industry where security and trust should always be at an optimum level. Whether this is dealing with an individual’s personal savings or landing a huge client with the deal being worth millions, the room for human error should be at an absolute minimum and therefore many firms are turning towards to use of AI.

While we can experience the friendly exchange of a conversation by visiting a local banking branch or meeting a client, it’s becoming easier and more popular to turn to technology as a faster and more reliable method of completing a service.

As firms start to improve their AI and add features to boost safety, the need for personnel is reducing and while this is seen as a negative in regard to job losses, it ultimately speeds up consumer experience.

From a business’s point of view, artificial intelligence can only be seen as a positive step to a more efficient future for the company. AI has brought the costs down in the financial sector by providing multiple services at affordable prices. Rather than employing members of staff to look after any financial issues, artificial intelligence can be used by thousands at the same time, not only improving efficiency and creating more revenue but also saving time. AI can provide multiple services to the financial sector, having the use of hands-free, voice activated financial management for consumers allows them to be doing other things at the same time, resulting in its huge popularity.

Another benefit to this is the increase in ROI – return of investment. A smoother, quicker and easier process means businesses can push more consumers ‘through the door’, in turn increasing their revenue by hour. As hard as it is to admit, employees simply cannot keep up with the speed of computer technology and so the convenience of opening an app at our fingertips to move money or purchase goods appeals to consumers more. Whether this means the financial industry is suffering with a lack of human culture is another debate. The simple facts are that AI is quicker and more efficient.

Statistics have shown that financial fraud losses were roughly £366.4 million in 2017 and with thanks to AI technology, it’s now decreasing. Card spending increased by 8.4 per cent, with a reduction of card fraud from the year before. Over £160 million of remote banking fraud was prevented, stopping criminals gaining access to an internet, phone or mobile banking account to make an unauthorised transaction. The technology therefore has not only proven to be handy in increasing transaction speeds, but also slowing down the rate of fraud. As AI is expanding, the technology is constantly learning and understanding human psychology, resulting in a higher success rate of stopping fraud.

However, as mentioned previously with job losses, integrating AI within the financial sector isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. As much as technology is a huge help in our lives, the software doesn’t pluck out of thin air. It’s programmed by human management and if there is a single error it can cause a catastrophe. For example, the Knight Capital case, which lost $400 million in 30 minutes due to a programming glitch. Does this raise the point about human employment and whether these technicians have the skills to construct something so important? Should their CVs be questioned? Is the selection process thorough enough and are tests run constantly? After all, this is an individual’s financial situation that needs to be looked after. It’s not something that should be skimmed over.

While AI has predominantly been constructed to help consumer experience and increase safety, it’s a dangerous programme when it’s in the wrong hands. If hackers are able to access the use and data of such AI, the possibilities are endless to what damage they can cause to both businesses and consumers. Once again, AI is only as good as the human who designed it, so if there’s a fault someone else can pick up on, it spells trouble. For many other industries, AI is taking over the need for employees due to its speed and convenience, therefore resulting in job losses. From an outside perspective, this isn’t something we wish to see and despite many of us loving the use of technology, it’s making humans suffer.

There is no doubt that AI can be an invaluable source within the finance industry, but it comes at a cost. Are businesses willing to sacrifice their employees’ jobs and potential failures early on for quicker transactions? In the coming years we should expect to hear both success stories and shocking failures, but like with any first-generation technology, there is always room for improvements and considering the giant leap it’s taken in helping run the financial world currently, it’s something to be taken positively.

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Article produced by Simon Houlton, CEO of IScreenYouScreen.