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U.S. finance giant Capital One has announced an integration with Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices, including Echo, that will let consumers access key facets of their finances using just their voice.
Capital One claims to be the first company to let its customers access their bank account through the likes of Amazon Echo, the recently launched Amazon Tap and Echo Dot, and Fire TV. From today, if you’re a Capital One account holder who also owns one of these devices, you can gain access to information in your checking and savings accounts –including available funds, balance, recent transactions — and even pay your credit card bill.
To set this up, open the Alexa app and enable the Capital One skill from within. Once you’ve accepted the terms and conditions, you’ll need to input your sign-in credentials and set up an optional 4-digit passcode. You can then shout out:
- “Alexa, ask Capital One for my Quicksilver Card balance”
- “Alexa, ask Capital One for recent transactions on my checking account”
- “Alexa, ask Capital One when is my credit card payment due?”
- “Alexa, ask Capital One to pay my credit card bill”
The Amazon Echo and other Alexa-enabled devices tap into the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) market, with its ubiquitous computing and smart homes. This means their usefulness relies heavily on compatibility with third-party products and services. You can already use Alexa to control things like your home lighting and electrics and to play music through Spotify. The hands-free, “always-on” assistant can also answer questions such as what the local traffic or weather is like.
Extending Alexa to cover your bank account is a notable evolution not only for Amazon’s Echo, but for the broader IoT industry. How such technology is applied is key though — sure, it could be convenient to access your bank account simply by talking to a cylindrical speaker in the corner of your living room or office. But the privacy implications are worth considering — you’ll probably want to ensure nobody is around when you’re asking Alexa for such private information, and even if you do, somebody could walk into the room at any time.
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