Amazon Echo has already taken over my home — it was only a matter of time before it took control of my finances, too.
On Friday, Amazon announced a new “skill” you can download to your Echo device. If you bank with Capital One, you can access information about your checking and savings accounts, check your balance, and more.
Capital One is the first company to provide people’s banking information through Amazon Echo. According to Capital One, here’s a sample of some questions you can ask:
“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.”
“Alexa, ask Capital One for the most recent transaction on our checking account.”
“Alexa, ask Capital One for my Quicksilver Card balance.”
According to Amazon and Capital One, asking your Echo to pay your credit card bill will use your pre-linked funds to pay that bill. It’s a clever integration that can quickly give you information about your finances, and even let you act on that information in some instances, hands-free.
Of course, you’re probably thinking, “Is this system secure?” After all, what’s stopping roommates, partners, or even kids from accessing your sensitive financial information? We had the same questions.
Amazon and Capital One tell Tech Insider that the companies placed a major emphasis on security, and protect account access in a couple of important ways. First of all, when you enable the Capital One skill, Capital One performs local security checks and customers are asked to sign into the Capital One accounts — both services, Amazon’s and Capital One’s, are encrypted.
Also, if you want an extra layer of security — which we highly recommend — you can create a 4-digit “Personal key.” So every time you ask Alexa one of those Capital One-related questions, you’ll be prompted to recite your personal key before you’re given any kind of access.
We had other questions about the Personal Key, including whether or not it expires after a certain period of time, or if you’ll be prompted to give your Personal Key every time you access the service (this is similar to how you can control Touch ID-related purchases on Apple’s App Store and iTunes Store). Amazon and Capital One did not immediately return a request for comment.
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