Alexa Speaks to U.S. Bank Customers
More than a year after Capital One unveiled the feature, U.S. Bank customers still are among the first in the U.S. to be able to complete banking tasks, such as checking an account balance or paying a credit card bill, by speaking a command to an Amazon Alexa device.
The Minneapolis-based bank, which is the fifth-largest in the U.S. by assets, is making the service available to its customers after a successful employee pilot this summer.
“Voice technology is going to be central to the future of digital interaction,” says Gareth Gaston, head of omnichannel banking at U.S. Bank. “We’ve all become accustom to speaking to our devices for simple things like getting directions to a restaurant or placing a call. Now, voice services such as Amazon Alexa are making it easy to check an account balance or hear a payment due date without picking up a phone or logging in to Internet banking.”
U.S. Bank customers can ask Alexa to:
- check balances for any U.S. Bank checking, savings or credit card account;
- hear payment due dates and the amount due;
- obtain account transaction history and
- make payments to U.S. Bank credit cards.
Customers must have an Alexa device such as Amazon Echo, Echo Dot or Tap, plus the Alexa App on their smartphones and an Amazon account. Although the service is not available to U.S. Bank’s prepaid customers at this time, it may become available in future updates.
“Bridging the gap between what’s on the horizon and when customers can use it for banking is exactly where U.S. Bank shines in innovation,” says Dominic Venturo, chief innovation officer at U.S. Bank. The bank has been working with voice technology for many years, “understanding its potential both in terms of biometrics and in voice-directed commands,” he adds.
The news follows Capital One’s integration with Amazon’s Alexa in early 2016 and a more recent announcement this summer from Barclays that it’s enabling mobile payments via Apple’s Siri. Not to be outdone by the banks or Amazon, Walmart recently announced its own deal for “voice commerce” with Google.
Consulting and research firm Gartner expects that, by 2019, virtual personal assistants like Siri will have changed the way users interact with devices and become universally accepted as part of everyday life. The firm estimates that end-user spending for the worldwide virtual personal assistant-enabled wireless speaker market will reach $3.52 billion by 2021, up from $0.72 billion in 2016.