Interacting with your bank using your voice

A man sitting at a table - Amazon Alexa
Thanks to Capital One for hosting me at their offices this past week to cover the Hispanic IT Executive Council D.C. IT Leadership Summit so that I could bring this content to my readers.

Online banking is fairly easy. It’s definitely much better than it used to be just a few short years ago, most banks now have apps where you can do anything from sending a payment to depositing a check and of course, almost everyone has a smartphone these days. The future of banking is a combination of all of the above plus a new unexpected component that mimics human interaction. Let me explain.

There are millions of Alexa-enabled devices out there named Echo and this seems to be the beginning of a fast-growing industry. Many sectors such as entertainment and home automation have jumped on this trend because Echo is easy to control with our very own voice. This means that you don’t have to unlock your phone and open an app to turn things on or off or simply to change the music track you are listening to. All you have to do is evoke Alexa and your new voice assistant is ready to help you. It uses natural language processing technology so you can talk to it like you are speaking to a person.

Amazon calls the applications that augment the function of the Echo, skills, because it’s like she is “learning” something new. A surprising industry that’s leveraging this tool is banking, led by Capital One. They were the first financial services company to create a skill for their customers using Echo. I was able to test it recently and I have to say that I’m pretty impressed. First of all, you can just say, “Alexa, open Capital One.” Alexa will ask you for a personal key that that was setup when you first configured the Capital One Skill and you are ready to go.

First, you need to enable the Capital One skill using the Alexa app, then you can log in with your Capital One username and password and that’s it.

What can you do? You can check your balances on your credit cards, checking and savings accounts, auto loan and even home loan. How do you talk to Alexa? It’s pretty simple.

You can say for example:

  • Alexa, ask Capital One what’s the balance on my credit card.
  • Alexa, ask Capital One what’s the due date for my credit card bill.
  • Alexa, ask Capital One to give me my recent transactions.
  • Alexa, ask Capital One how much money I have in my savings.
  • Alexa, ask Capital One what’s the principal balance on my auto loan?
  • Alexa, ask Capital One to make a mortgage payment.

Alternatively, you can just say, “Alexa, open Capital One” and then ask the questions or pay your applicable bills without having to ask Capital One since you are already inside the respective app.

It’s pretty cool to be able to just use natural language to find this information quickly instead of logging in to your bank website or app. You can simply talk as if you were interacting with a person. As the development progresses, more commands and functions will be added. It’s pretty exciting to see the future of interacting with a bank at work today. As the Echo gets more popular, more people will have access to these type of convenient features that can save a great deal of time. The important question is, when is the Echo for my car coming?

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