At this year’s Money20/20 conference, held in Las Vegas from October 21-24, companies across the payments, banking, and fintech spaces announced a wealth of new products, services, and partnerships. At the conference, Business Insider Intelligence saw three emerging trends that should set the tone for the space for the next year: AI’s maturity, partnerships in unexpected places, and the niche targeting of firms to broaden the digital financial services ecosystem.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is finding its footing in the industry. Last year, much of the conversation at Money20/20 was centered on future use cases; this year, several firms made AI-related announcements that showcase very specific ways the technology can improve the customer experience.

  • Bank of America: The bank added a set of new features to its in-app virtual assistant Erica that offer users “personalized, proactive guidance” related to digital money management. These tools — which include bill payment reminders, recurrent charge notifications, and credit score tracking — are designed to help users save and budget more effectively.
  • Capital One: The financial firm shared how its conversational banking assistant Eno uses natural language understanding to interpret customers’ responses to its text alerts for suspicious transactions. Because the bank found that customers responded to fraud alerts delivered over SMS in unexpected ways, for example with a “thumbs up” emoji, the enhancement has been a boon to its automated triaging efforts.
  • Synchrony Financial: In a panel discussion, Synchrony Financial CEO Margaret Keane discussed the firm’s usage of AI to get a “broader perspective on consumers.” The firm thinks that deploying the technology will help simplify checkout and improve “long-run” customer performance.

AI’s increased maturity could help more firms reap its benefits. In 2017, a Celent survey found that the vast majority of banks were still in the “considering” stage of deployment for several major AI-related use cases. The announcements made at Money20/20 indicate that more players have moved toward planning, piloting, and deployment of AI, which could make it easier to capitalize on the benefits of automation, including cost savings as well as increased customer engagement and satisfaction.

<img src="https://media-bii.businessinsider.com/images/5bd34bf4cd6f383afa392744-1920-1402.png" border="0" alt="AI deployment" data-mce-source="BI Intelligence" srcset="https://media-bii.businessinsider.com/images/5bd34bf4cd6f383afa392744-160-117.jpg 160w, https://media-bii.businessinsider.com/images/5bd34bf4cd6f383afa392744-320-234.jpg 320w, https://media-bii.businessinsider.com/images/5bd34bf4cd6f383afa392744-480-351.jpg 480w, [...]