Amazon is trying to expand the capabilities of its Alexa-enabled devices like the Echo home speakers. A Virginia, US based technology company Daon, has developed technology that can be deployed on Alexa to make money transfers through a voice command and Alexa will comply. The payment could cover any purpose, paying the rent to your landlord or lending a small amount to your friend. But there will be conditions attached.
Speaking of Daon, they are credited with developing the biometric software for governments and for banks, including the “selfie pay” technology for Mastercard. Though Daon is not able to name any specific banks that have signed up for this money transfer technology through Alexa, it believes it will happen over the next few months.
Amazon also has its own plans to expand its services to the public at large beyond the ecommerce online store activities and the financial services segment is definitely one of them. Already, Amazon has an arrangement of offering branded credit cards and is looking to tie-up with a bank to offer checking accounts to its customers. The Alexa money transfer facility could become part of this expanded activity. And Alexa is equally equipped with other ‘Alexa skills’ where fund transfers etc., are permissible within an individual’s different accounts. Transferring money to another person’s account is still to be attempted.
The new payments feature on Alexa, when it is introduced commercially will come in direct competition to a host of such services being offered by Venmo, PayPal, Square Cash, Zelle and Apple Pay Cash.
The process, however, will not be as simple as one would assume, as there would be at least 3 or 4 steps before Alexa accepts your voice command to make the money transfer. The details of the person who you wish to make the payment to will have to be added in advance for Alexa to accept and comply with your command. There could be phone message confirmation similar to the OTP method followed for money transactions through mobile phones.