Amazon Echo users can already ask their virtual assistant Alexa to update their calendars, dim the lights and play some music. But soon they will also be able to ask Alexa to help them pay their credit cards.
Capital One announced Friday that it is the first bank to partner with Amazon to let customers review their finances through Alexa-enabled devices, including the Amazon Echo, Amazon Tap, Echo Dot and Fire TV.
(Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
People who own one of those devices and have a Capital One credit card or bank account will be able to request information on their account balance and most recent transactions. Instead of having to log in through their laptop or phones, customers will be able to speak the commands while they’re doing the dishes or doing other tasks around the house, said Ken Dodelin, vice president of digital products at McLean, Virginia-based Capital One.
“Maybe you’re wondering whether or not a check cleared,” he said. Credit card users can also request an update on when their payment is due and how much credit they have available. They’ll be able to ask Alexa to pay their monthly credit card bill if they’ve set up a checking account for that purpose.
For security reasons, customers will have to create a four-digit code when they set up the program, and they’ll have to provide that code by default whenever they ask for anything related to their credit cards or checking accounts, Dodelin said. But users can decide to turn off the password requirement later. “As a bank we obviously take security very seriously,” Dodelin said.
With the exception of credit card payments, the first rollout is focused mostly on helping consumers gather information about their accounts – rather than complete transactions. But the service could have broader uses in later editions. (More security measures would probably be needed before other transaction-based services could be included, Dodelin said.)
For example, Capital One is also testing out whether credit card holders would eventually want to use Alexa to put a freeze on their credit card after it has been lost or to request updates on their credit card rewards, Dodelin said, but those uses aren’t being introduced yet.
© 2016 The Washington Post
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