Bank of America’s Mobile Payments, Banking Tool Erica, One Year Later

May 30, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

It’s been almost a year now since Erica, the artificial intelligence (AI)-driven personal virtual financial assistant, came out from Bank of America, and it’s already packed a real punch. In fact, Bank of America dropped word our way about Erica’s numbers in development over the last year, and this little beauty has grown by leaps and bounds.

Despite Erica’s comparative newness, it’s still packed a wallop. The app currently counts over seven million users to its credit, and adds at the rate of just over 500,000 per month, according to Bank of America’s figures. It’s overwhelmingly a millennial product, with 49 percent of users coming from that generation. Gen X, oddly, is next at 20 percent, followed by boomers / seniors at 16 percent and Gen Z at just 15 percent.

With just over five million interactions a month now recorded—and a lifetime record of 50 million so far—Erica is about as well-used as it is widely-used. Tap interactions make up the near-majority of uses at 47 percent, while 40 percent use text and the remaining 13 percent turn to voice. With 150,000 users tapping on Erica insights, which are offered weekly, there’s a good slug of the reasons to tap right there.

Users, meanwhile, have been effuse in their praise. One user considered it “time-saving and very informative,” while several cited its constantly-available nature. Erica has even made some personal connections to customers, having wished 90,000 users a happy birthday so far, and having told jokes from its library of just over 30 to 16,000 users.

Erica is millennial-heavy in its user base, and that’s both good news and bad at once. The good news is that it’s a hit with those in or entering their peak earning power, and that should deliver some real results in user retention and the like. But it’s falling clearly short with Gen Z, which means Erica’s successes may have trouble reaching the next generation of users.

Is Erica a generational flash in the pan, or can Bank of America make it appeal to the wildly different Gen Z? If Bank of America hopes to hang onto those numbers, it had better start considering ways to branch that appeal to the next generation of users.