Western Union and MoneyGram unveil Facebook Messenger bots; Mastercard and Amex pile in

MoneyGram and Western Union have both launched bots that lets customers in the US send money transfers to tens of thousands of locations around the world through Facebook Messenger.

The MoneyGram Sendbot - which can be found by searching for MoneyGram in the Messenger Discover tab - requires users to sign into a MoneyGram online account, after which they can send funds to 350,000 locations around the world and track transfers.

Youri Bebic, head, product innovation, MoneyGram, says: "Innovation is the core to our business and the MoneyGram Sendbot is a true case of a hybrid product created to bridge the digital and physical worlds in order to promote financial inclusion."

Similarly, the Wester Union bot can be used to send money to more than 200 countries and territories across 130 currencies. The bot will also feature real-time FX rates and automated customer support.

Odilon Almeida, president, global money transfer, Western Union, says: "The Messenger platform allows Western Union to interact with our US customers where they are, when they need us, in the most natural, conversational way."

Mastercard is also boarding the chatbot train, unveiling a Masterpass-enabled bot via Facebook Messenger at the social media group's annual developer conference. Using artificial intelligence, the bot encourages consumers to connect directly with merchants to checkout via Masterpass without needing to stray from the Messenger app.

Earlier this year, Mastercard opened up an experimental Masterpass Chatbot API on the Mastercard Developers platform to help merchants begin to test the technology across multiple channels and digital platforms. The card scheme and Turkish mobile retailer Getir developed a Masterpass-enabled bot that allows consumers to shop and pay for more than 600 everyday items within Messenger, receiving guaranteed 10-minute delivery of their purchased goods.

American Express also used the Facebook event to announce an updated Amex bot for Messenger enhanced by artificial intelligence which will be available in the coming months. The bot will give cardholder on-demand answers for queries related to their account and card information.

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