Magazine article American Banker

AT&T to Refine Its Marketing through Artificial Intelligence

Magazine article American Banker

AT&T to Refine Its Marketing through Artificial Intelligence

Article excerpt

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -AT&T Universal Card Services plans to refine its credit card marketing systems with so-called artificial intelligence.

"Definitely within the next year, we'll be using AI tools," said Leslie Palmer, vice president of emerging technologies at the credit card unit of American Telephone and Telegraph Co.

With artifical intelligence, "you can do it faster, you can do it better, and you know your results are going to be consistent," Ms. Palmer said. "If you can get an improvement, even a couple of points' improvement, that's significant dollars."

AT&T is looking to artificial intelligence systems, which are programmed to mimic human reasoning, as another potential edge in crowded business where it is already a major player.

After three years, AT&T Universal Bank ranks second among MasterCard and Visa issuers, with 16 million credit cards in circulation.

Hunt Pioneered Techniques

David K. Hunt, who recently took charge of the AT&T card business, was widely expected to use advanced technology to build card balances. He pioneered the use of similar techniques as head of Signet Banking Corp.'s card unit.

Experts say any computerized decision-making program could be considered "artificial intelligence," but add that the tools Ms. Palmer is contemplating would allow a marketing department to make subtler distinctions than the credit-scoring models that already are in widespread use.

Various types of advanced programming and networking - neural networks, fuzzy logic, and pattern-recognition programs - allow the computer to say not only "yes" or "no," but also maybe," said Jerome Svigals, an electronic banking consultant in Redwood City, Calif. …

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