Two Canadian credit unions are now testing a system that lets customers do their banking through Alexa, Amazon’s voice-based virtual assistant.
The technology comes by way of Vancouver-based FinTech specialist Central 1, which developed it in collaboration with San Francisco design agency Point One Digital. Essentially, the idea is to make Alexa a customer service representative, allowing end users to tell the AI platform to make payments, transfer money, and perform other banking transactions, all via voice command. And because Alexa has a voice recognition capability, the system can ensure that it’s an authorized user requesting these transactions.
The system could not only offer greater convenience to users of Alexa-based smart home speakers, but also improve banking accessibility for individuals who are visually impaired, have difficulty with mobile or keyboard interfaces, or have difficulty leaving their homes.
The system is being trialled by Conexus Credit Union and Innovation Credit Union. In a statement announcing the trials, the latter’s Chief Digital and Technology Officer, Dean Gagne, emphasized the growing importance of voice interaction as a user interface, saying, “Innovation Credit Union believes that Conversational UI is going to play a significant role in future member interactions, particularly with Millennials and Gen X.”
The firms have offered no specific timeline for their trials, but Central 1 says it’s planning to proceed with a wider release of the system to all of its clients this autumn.
August 14, 2018 – by Alex Perala