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eCompareMo uses AI to help loan, card seekers

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C88 FINANCIAL Technologies Pte Ltd., owner and operator of website eCompareMo, is using artificial intelligence and data technologies to serve its customers as it looks to launch products to help Filipino consumers looking to tap financial services.

In an event in Makati City on Thursday, Mercedes M. Limson, Chief Commercial Officer of eCompareMo, launched its chat-bot dubbed as Alex.

Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), Alex can “chat” with eCompareMo’s customers who wish to cross-check and avail of financial products such as loans, credit cards and insurance policies offered by partner banks and insurers.

Aside from communicating with customers, Alex can also validate documents and identification cards, as well as cross-sell other financial products.

“Our chat-bot will also offer products that is related to your needs, and then give you alerts should you need to, say, update your insurance,” Ms. Limson said in a roundtable discussion with reporters, adding that the AI technology was built in-house and is proprietary.

John Patrick Ellis, C88 Group chief executive officer and co-founder, emphasized the importance of AI technology to their system.

“We believe that [AI] will be able to solve our customers’ needs 24/7. A lot of customer questions are very standard, so this can be automated,” Mr. Ellis said.

“AI also reduces costs. You don’t need to necessarily have people on standby.”

Meanwhile, eCompareMo is set to launch its own credit scoring service “in the coming weeks.”

“We are now in the process of fine-tuning this. It’s something we’re all going to be ready for commercial launch in the Philippine market in the coming weeks,” Mr. Ellis said.

Ms. Limson said they started developing their own credit scoring system “because of the voluminous data that [they] have been getting.”

However, she clarified that their own credit score is not meant to replace the systems of their partner institutions.

“Developing our credit score is by no means meant to replace the credit department of our partners, but rather, it is meant to provide them with additional information that the can use so they can handle the risks more efficiently,” she said.

For his part, Mr. Ellis said their approach to scoring their customers differs from the “judgmental” method.

“Different banks have different ways of doing things. In general, the industry look at an individual statistically; they’re looked at judgmentally… We need to be able to move into statistical scoring rather than judgmental. This [prevents] a lot of error and is fair for customers and reduces financial institutions’ costs also.”

eCompareMo is also set to offer wealth management into their platform.

Launched in the Philippines early in 2015, eCompareMo.com is a comparison portal aimed at Filipinos looking for quick banking and insurance information.

Customers are provided with information about their preferred credit card, loan or insurance policy to help them find the product that suits them.

In 2016, Australian telecommunications firm Telstra Corp.’s venture capital unit has invested in C88, its first investment in a technology start-up in the Philippines.

Aside from eCompareMo, the Singapore-based C88 also owns and operates financial portal CekAja and e-brokerage services provider Premiro, both in Indonesia. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal