Courtesy a new integration with Amazon’s cross-platform Alexa assistant, eligible utility company customers will soon gain the ability to settle bills using voice. Amazon this week announced that in the coming months, Alexa users in the U.S. and on the web will be able to pay participating utilities with information stored in their Amazon account. Coinciding with the launch, a complementary bill management feature will roll out to Alexa-enabled devices in the U.S.
When the functionality launches in earnest, customers will be able to ask Alexa to tell them information about their bill, including when their bill is due (e.g., “Alexa, when is my water bill due?”) and how their current bill compares to previous periods (e.g., “Alexa, compare my electricity bill to June last year.”). They’ll also able to check the status of bill payments (e.g., “Alexa, did my payment go through?”) and opt in to receiving alerts when it looks like their payment will be late or their payment account has issues.
Amazon notes that customers will be able to turn off bill notifications anytime in the Alexa app for Android, iOS, and Windows by heading to Settings > Account > Notifications > Bill Planner. Additionally, they’ll be able to unlink a utility account by saying a command like “Alexa, disconnect my electric bill.”
The forthcoming features stem from a partnership with customer engagement and payment platform Paymentus’ Instant Payment Network, which currently spans more than 1,500 billers and 700 utilities. Amazon Pay, Amazon’s online service that streamlines online third-party checkout for goods and services, will supply information such as billing addresses and names to find the appropriate company and account to link.
“At Amazon, we are continuously looking for ways to invent and simplify on behalf of our customers,” said VP of Amazon Pay Patrick Gauthier in a statement. “By teaming up with Paymentus, we are excited to provide customers and utility billers with a simpler, natural way to manage bills via Alexa.”
As Voicebot.ai notes, Amazon recently rolled out utility bill features in India that include the option to add a voice PIN and find out how much money is in an Amazon Pay account by voice. It’s unclear whether those features will eventually debut globally, but we’ve reached out to Amazon for more information.
Alexa isn’t the first voice platform to gain billing features, interestingly. Xcel Energy’s voice app for Google Assistant, which debuted earlier this year, lets users with linked Xcel accounts quickly check details like due dates and monthly account balances.