Have you ever sat down with a financial advisor to discuss your financial future and implement a budget? No? Well, the experience can be daunting and quite boring, to say the least. Imagine sitting across with someone in a suit and tie letting you know that you suck at budgeting and spend wayyyy too much money eating out is no fun. Now imagine casually chatting with one of your best friends about your spending habits. Your best friend is going to be brutally honest but in a fun-loving way. Cleo, a chatbot, can be seen as millions of user’s best friend who keeps them on track. She makes talking about money fun by using a conversational interface, funny gifs, and emojis to enhance the user’s experience.
I recently signed up for Cleo to determine if it’s as casual and easy to sign up as the advertisements I’ve seen on my Facebook timeline claim. The chat interface portion of the app is designed to mimic an iMessage or text message thread. There’s no bells and whistles, just simple text bubbles with a pleasing, familiar aesthetic and minimalist design. The design and emojis follow real-world concepts, making the app easy to learn. The app also provides responses that you can click if you are unsure what to ask Cleo next, giving the user control and freedom of use. There are mixed reviews on Apple App-Store, with some
After securely linking my bank account to the app, I asked Cleo, “what am I spending?” and she instantly gave me a real-time break-down of my spending habits (see figure 1). The speed of the calculations was pleasantly surprising and more enjoyable than sitting across from your friendly financial advisor. Cleo also eliminates human interaction and the need to schedule appointments. However, I did notice that Cleo miscalculated how much I spent on bills in July. The bot only considered one bill that is on Auto-Pay. From my understanding, Cleo gets better with use, so I’ll wait to see if she picks up my PECO transaction next month. After reading reviews, it’s evident that Cleo May still have some bugs to work out, but users still appreciate the friendly conversations.
Overall, the app is simple to use and makes an intimidating topic such as money easy to understand. It helps users make more informed decisions about day-to-day purchases. Cleo proves that an app does not need the most intricate design and functionality features to be effective. “Cleo co-founder Barney Hussey-Yeo has always said that it is better to focus on building a better and smarter UI/UX than re-inventing the current account itself, even if the ultimate goal is somewhat the same.”( O’Hear, 2018). I’m anxious to see how much I’ll look to Cleo to painfully reveal my spending habits versus my bank app. Maybe banks should implement AI-powered chatbots to appeal to younger generations and increase usage.