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3/11/2016
02:06 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Amazon Alexa Can Now Pay Capital One Bills

Capital One cardholders can now ask Amazon's Alexa smart assistant to perform select banking activities, such as accessing account details and paying bills. The new capability adds to Alexa's growing list of skills.

 Siri, Cortana Are Listening: How 5 Digital Assistants Use Your Data
Siri, Cortana Are Listening: How 5 Digital Assistants Use Your Data
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Alexa, Amazon's smart assistant for the home, just earned its finance degree. Capital One today said it has added some of its core cardholder tools to Alexa's skill set so its customers can pay their bills by asking Alexa. The smart home -- and Alexa in particular -- is becoming smarter every day.

Beginning today, Capital One customers can access their checking and savings accounts through Alexa, including details such as account balances, available funds, and recent transactions. Need to pay a bill? Alexa can take care of that with but a quick request.

In order to get this feature up and running, Capital One customers need to open the Alexa app on their smartphone and enable the Capital One skill in the settings menu. Users will need to have their Capital One account number, username, and password ready to go. Creating a four-digit PIN to secure transactions is optional. (Capital One says this data will be encrypted and inaccessible to Amazon and Alexa.) Once these steps are complete, Alexa can respond to four distinct commands:

  • 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

Users will receive feedback from Alexa as she performs each of the requests. Capital One claims it is the first banking company to tap into Alexa's powers. Amazon hasn't said whether other banks plan to do the same. Alexa is available through the Amazon Echo, Amazon Tap, Echo Dot, and Fire TV.

(Image: Amazon)

(Image: Amazon)

Alexa has taken some big steps forward lately. Most of Alexa's new powers come from added skills. The skills are what hook into the backend and allow people to use specific commands for specific tasks. For example, Alexa added the ability to interact with owners' Spotify accounts. Once Amazon Echo owners turn on the Spotify skill, they can ask Alexa to play their favorite tunes.

Alexa is already able to provide the weather and traffic updates, go over the day's news headlines, access and add to the owner's calendar, adjust a smart thermostat, and even play a number of games. (My kids love to challenge Alexa to rock, paper, scissors.)

[Read Amazon Alexa Voice Service Open to More Developers.]

"The Alexa Skills store is quickly growing, and today we're excited to add the Capital One skill," said Rob Pulciani, Director of Amazon Alexa in a press release. "More and more voice experiences are coming, and it's only going to get better for our customers."

Alexa still falls behind Apple's Siri and Google's Google Now voice assistants, according to the New York Times, but one has to wonder for how long.

Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio
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jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
3/15/2016 | 10:02:24 AM
Amazon Echo in Enterprise or SMB?
does anyone know if the Amazon Echo/Alexa is in use in large Enterprises or SMBs? (and not just in the consumer market)
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
3/12/2016 | 3:21:11 PM
Interesting, But...
So far, very predictable "skills"

what will it do that we can't do via phone/computer?
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