Personal Finance Enters to Digital Assistant Realm
For years a big trend in FinTech has been personal finance apps. From Mint to Digit these applications allow users to monitor their spending and see how it fits into their budget. Now it seems that Capital One is looking to bring some of that functionality to Amazon’s Echo.
As Mashable reports Capital One customers can now link their accounts to Echo and allow Alexa (the name given to the device’s artificially intelligent voice akin to Apple’s Siri) to give them financial updates. Not only is Capital One the first financial institution to allow account access to Alexa but it may also be the first to do so with any AI assistant. Currently Siri and others do not offer any such service. This new functionality can be added to a user’s Echo via the Amazon Alexa app.
After account info is added they will be able to ask the device questions like “Alexa, ask Capital One for recent transactions on my checking account,” “Alexa, ask Capital One when is my credit card payment due?” and “Alexa, ask Capital One to pay my credit card bill.” That last function is especially noteworthy, although it’s not that far off from Echo’s current ability to purchase items from Amazon for you.
Obviously one of the biggest questions raised by this development is account security. Capital One says that all account info will be completely encrypted and cannot be accessed by Amazon or anyone else. Additionally users will be required to set up a PIN that Alexa will ask for before Capital One transactions or inquiries can be completed. Currently Capital One will support Echo integration for its consumer banking and credit card accounts. However, as the company’s vice president of digital product management Ken Dodelin told Mashable, “It’s a great set of initial use cases that we’ll refine and expand over time.” It will also be interesting to see if other banks and financial institutions also add support for Echo or other digital assistants.
Between security concerns and the inevitable debate on if this has long term viability or will prove to be a short-lived novelty, the partnership between Amazon and Capital One is sure to raise some eyebrows. Personally I believe this could be a major advancement for FinTech. With the use of digital assistance growing among mainstream consumers it only makes sense that personal finance move beyond apps and into this new realm.