Using Cleo, the chatbot that helps you understand your spending

Cleo is an application that connects to your bank account and then provides a Facebook Messenger chatbot for you to get simple information from your account such as current balance. 

Using Cleo, the chatbot that helps you understand your spending


As is the point with all chatbots, using Cleo means you can check your balance, find out how much you’ve spent and if you’ve been paid without having to come out of Messenger and open your banking app, try to log-in, realise you can’t remember your customer number, etc., etc.

As Cleo says on it’s website, managing your daily finances should be easy than the banks make it. So, type natural language questions such as ‘How much have I spent at Tesco this week?’ and Cleo will tell you how much, ask Cleo if your wages have been paid and it will tell when your wages were last paid in and how much it was, ask Cleo ‘Where do I spend the most?’ and it will reply with a ranked list of how much you’ve spent this month in each category.

What do I think about it?

Needless to say, but I think Cleo is completely awesome. It is so much easier to use than the app provided by my bank (which I don’t use very much because it doesn’t do very much but will be using even less now). It does a really good job of simple things like balance enquiries, but it also provides insights that are actually useful.

How could it be better?

It could connect to PayPal. It doesn’t currently do this and that is the one big downside to getting a good grip on all of your daily finances.

It could access your account to enable you to perform simple transactions such as paying money to people (which could become a group chat between you, the person you are paying, and Cleo). I realise this is most likely against the terms and conditions of my bank account, and I get the security reasons why Cleo doesn’t do it at the moment but as biometric authentication gets better it’s definitely something I’d like to see.

Summary

I’ve been using it for a couple of hours and already have a better understanding of my finances than my bank ever provided me with. Everyone should use Cleo.

Health Help Now should have been a bot

Health Help Now is the NHS’s new website that helps people diagnose symptoms and select the appropriate service to get help, e.g. Pharmacy, GP, A & E.

Given that it uses simple logic to take the visitor through steps to reach a limited number of conclusions it could easily be a bot as well as/instead of a website. Then people could access the service using Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, SnapChat, etc.

Developing RogSwaBot – Part 1

I first became interested in bots when I read about EstherBot, and have since read other articles such as PeterBot — the chatbot which replaced my CV and How to design a chatbot: creating a conversational interface

So,  I wonder about what bots could be used for and how I could develop a bot version of myself. My bot is called RogSwaBot (short for Roger Swannell’s Bot) 

So far, I’ve created Facebook and Twitter accounts for it and started to map out the conversations RogSwaBot could hold. 

I’ve also began playing with a few different bot services such as api.ai and smooch.io (which quite rightly uses a bot for registering your account). 

I’ve got a lot of work to do in learning how to develop a bot, but it should make for an interesting hobby.