Artificial intelligence is infiltrating our lives – we already trust Siri to google for us, and give us directions (plus she can beatbox). But those of us ahead of the curve are now letting Amazon’s ‘Alexa’ or as it is known in the UK, Amazon Echo, order our shopping, and going one step further, access our bank accounts.
SXSW always brings something exciting to the arena, last year it was the mainstreaming of live video apps Meerkat and Periscope, this year’s big announcement so far is Capital One Financial Corporation’s – they’ve enabled Alexa to pay your bills. Terrifying or exciting? Well, it depends who you are!
“The Alexa Skills store is quickly growing, and today we’re excited to add the Capital One skill – which is the first skill that will enable Alexa users to interact with their financial accounts,” said Rob Pulciani, Director Amazon Alexa. “Now Alexa can quickly provide your Capital One banking balance, latest transactions and more on Amazon Tap, Echo Dot, Amazon Echo or Fire TV devices —all conveniently with just your voice. More and more voice experiences are coming, and it’s only going to get better for our customers.”“The Alexa Skills store is quickly growing, and today we’re excited to add the Capital One skill”Click To Tweet
Justifying the security of allowing Alexa’s access to bank accounts is the fact that Alexa cannot actually take control of your account (yet!). The device can merely relay information to you, the same information that you would get by viewing your account details via a secure app or web browser. You can also add a 4-digit key to the interactions if you want more security, so any interaction would be locked before you give your security code, meaning not just anyone can pop over and ask your Alexa how much money you’ve got kicking around.
Users can sign up for the service via the Amazon Alexa / Echo setup app. From there they can set up an account link if they want to pay their credit card balance via the device.
The commands such as: “Alexa, ask Capital One for my Quicksilver Card balance” or “Alexa, ask Capital One to pay my credit card bill” drive the interactions between the device and the bank.
Back in February Symitar announced touchpoints for the apps to interact with financial institutions, but their announcement hasn’t gotten nearly as much attention as Capital Ones’.
Ted Bilke, president of Symitar, said at the time, “This is the digital banking environment we’ve only imagined, having virtual personal assistants go beyond the scope of weather forecasting and reading calendar reminders to actually help manage financial activity. We believe it’s our responsibility to create and enable a larger ecosystem of technology offerings in order to continually improve credit unions’ financial interactions with their members. The influence of BIG and the resulting FIVE initiative is Symitar’s way of proactively addressing market needs with services indicative to consumers’ lifestyles.”
We are living in the future, and our digital personal assistants can now access one more facet of our lives.