Is GenAI in banking safe? FIS survey highlights concerns

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents said they do not know if their bank uses GenAI in its operations, but are split 50-50 on whether they would be comfortable if it did
Finance company FIS research reveals that consumers hold divided opinions when it comes to GenAI in banking, with the majority nervous about the technology

FIS, a global leader in financial services technology, has conducted research into the extent of which people understand and trust generative artificial intelligence (GenAI), as well as their attitudes towards the emerging technology’s role in personal finance and banking.

The findings revealed that UK consumers in particular are divided on the use of GenAI in banking, but 62% believe that regulation would increase trust. FIS reveals that UK survey participants had the least exposure and experience of GenAI of all countries surveyed, which also included the US, India, Australia and Singapore.

Furthermore, nearly 30% of those surveyed do not trust GenAI at all, but also confirmed that data transparency, regulation and human oversight would be reassuring factors. 

50-50 split on banks using AI

Most notably, the survey found that nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents said they do not know if their bank uses GenAI in its operations, but are split 50-50 on whether they would be comfortable if it did.

GenAI use has exploded in 2023 and is set to revolutionise a number of industries by automating repetitive tasks, enabling rapid prototyping and advancing new product development. This will ultimately lead to increased efficiency, reduced costs, and accelerated innovation cycles for many businesses.

For the FIS survey respondents with little or no trust in AI technology, the most important factor in increasing their trust is more transparency into how data is used (66%), the introduction of regulation or legislation at government level (62%), as well as knowing there is a human overseeing the technology (61%).

On the other hand, 39% of UK consumers expressed curiosity about GenAI, signalling an openness to learn more. FIS suggests that more education is needed, with 42% of consumers admitting they do not currently know how to use this technology.

People in the UK have had the least amount of exposure and experience of AI globally, according to FIS, with just 43% of respondents in the UK having experience with AI. This is compared to 45% in Australia, 50% in the US, 64% in Singapore and 79% in India. In addition, nearly half (48%) of consumers in the study said they are learning about GenAI through social media, compared to just 23% saying they have personal experience through online activities.

Majority still nervous about finance AI, yet efficiency could prevail

The study also asked participants about the role of GenAI in financial services. Whilst 74% have no idea if their bank uses AI, 50% of respondents in the study expressed that they would be either somewhat, very, or extremely comfortable with their bank using GenAI, while the other 50% expressed varying levels of discomfort.

However, a quarter (25%) would be less likely to continue to use their bank if they knew it was deploying the technology.

Silvia Mensdorff-Pouilly, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Banking and Payments EMEA at FIS, says: “Although still in its infancy, GenAI is already being deployed across a number of use cases in financial services—for example, to power customer service chatbots and to detect fraud.

“In fact, around half of financial institutions in the UK are already using some form of GenAI in their operations, showing that consumers may be unaware of how GenAI is embedded in many of the financial services they’re already using. As leaders in the financial technology space, FIS is committed to the responsible use of GenAI as we seek to build trust in these exciting advancements.”

FIS research also found that more than half (57%) of those surveyed would not be interested in using a GenAI-powered application or service for financial tasks. Examples of tasks included completing a tax return or planning finances.

Of the remaining 43% of respondents who would be interested in using AI for financial tasks, the most compelling factors are that the technology would save them time (53%) and that it would be more cost-effective than using a human financial service professional (40%).

Mensdorff-Pouilly adds: “When mobile phones were first introduced, many consumers thought they didn’t want or need one. If we fast forward to today, that technology has not only been accepted, but it’s transformed our society—we now couldn’t imagine life without these devices. We will likely see the same with GenAI over the next few years as the technology matures and more use cases are identified.

“Financial institutions have an opportunity to educate their customers on how they are embracing innovation with this new technology. Crucially, they must be transparent about how they are using data if they are to succeed in winning trust.”


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