Amazon’s Alexa Can Now Offer Credit Card Recommendations
If you’re in the market for a new rewards credit card but don’t know what to choose, now your digital assistant could help. As MarketWatch reports, a new skill for Amazon Echo’s Alexa allows users to inquire about credit card recommendations. This capability comes from NerdWallet and the skill itself can be enabled through the Amazon.
So what does this new skill involve? First, users can ask things like “Alexa, can you pick a new credit card for me?” Doing this with prompt a series of questions that will help the AI voice assistant narrow down your choices. One such question (as noted by MarketWatch) is “Do you like to keep things simple, or are you trying to maximize rewards?” Once Alexa arrives at a recommendation, she can also give users the ability to call and apply for the card right away.
As for specifics, the NerdWallet “Best Credit Card” Alexa skill does not ask users for sensitive information through the device. For example, while one of the questions may ask for a user’s credit score, they can simply respond with a basic range in order to help the tool select a card. Additionally, unlike some other financial skills for Alexa, NerdWallet’s tool does not link to any financial accounts. That said NerdWallet may collect a commission if a user is approved for a card recommended by the service.
Speaking to MarketWatch, NerdWalletg general manager of the credit product group Kevin Yuann explained the decision to introduce the new skill, saying, “We want to meet the consumer wherever they are.” That intent is also likely why digital assistants have become a growing trend in the world of FinTech, with several institutions dipping their toes into the water. Some of the early adopters that have introduced financial integrations for Alexa include TD Ameritrade, Mint, Digit, Synchrony, and Experian. These skills allow users to do everything from check their balances and review transactions to pay bills and trade stocks. In the case of Experian, users can even check their credit scores through Alexa (for a $25 a month subscription fee, that is).
While these offerings may seem like just a novelty, the truth is that payment made via devices like the Echo are becoming significant. In fact a report from OC&C Strategy Consultants suggests that voice shopping will account for $40 billion in consumer spending by 2022. Moreover, while only 13% of households currently employ a voice assistant device, that figure could rise to 55% over the next four years. Because of this it’s easy to see why some institutions and startups would want to start experimenting with the technology now.
Truth be told NerdWallet’s new credit card selection tool for Alexa is unlikely to set the world on fire. That said it highlights a growing opportunity for FinTechs and other companies to supplement their current offerings, even if they don’t lead to big returns just yet. But, like with other technologies before — including online banking, mobile apps, and others — it will likely take time before most consumers are really ready to talk money with their digital assistants.