There are new Amazon Echo features being unveiled all the time, but one company may soon have integrated the ability to “ask Alexa” to send money. A peer-to-peer software has been developed for just that purpose. The latest feature seems to already have some support from the financial world, which could mean it will arrive as an option in the very near future. Here are the latest details on the potential money-sending feature that could take voice interactive speakers to another level.
A report by CNET‘s Ben Fox Rubin on Wednesday indicates that Virginia-based company Daon has developed the technology. The software company works on biometric products for the government and banks. Among their latest is a special new Alexa “skill” that will allow Echo owners to ask the voice assistant to send money to someone from their bank. The company has already said it is under contract with a number of “major financial institutions who are interested in pursuing it as a new service.” The launch could come as early as the end of this year, or sometime in 2019.
As of right now, the Echo has yet to really have this sort of payment feature among the various Alexa Skills that the Echo offers. However, it does have skills with the ability to order a pizza or an Uber, as well as a way to place orders through the Amazon website. Each holiday season, the company unveils special deals just for Echo owners to take advantage of. The new payment method will be a big one for customers to embrace due to possible security concerns.
For those worried that someone in the room could simply yell to an Echo to send them all your money, it appears the company has built in a safeguard against that potential issue. The way it would work is by the owner asking the interactive assistant “Alexa, open Daon Bank.” The skill then has Alexa ask how it can help you with specific questions or statements to give like: “What’s my balance?” or “Send money.”
For the latter of these features, a demo of the skill showed that there’s another source of authentication needed before any money is sent. The person that the money is being sent to would have to first be added as a “payee” on the sender’s bank account via app or online. In addition, the sending party would use an app (most likely the customer’s current bank app) on their smartphone to confirm the transaction via voice, facial recognition photo, fingerprint sensor, or a special PIN code.
That’s good news for Amazon Echo owners concerned with the potential for someone to easily walk by and tell Alexa to “give me all your money.” However, one still has to wonder in this modern day world full of constant hackers online, if this service will be safe enough for customers to embrace right away as a new way to send money to others. Based on the adoption of the internet, tablets, and smartphones as ways to send money, it could very well be easily accepted.